Consumer Credit: How To Manage Wrong Addresses On My Credit Report

If the wrong address shows up on your credit report, here are some tips for minimizing damage and for correcting your credit report.

Applying for a lower-rate credit card, your request is denied. Puzzled, you request a copy of your credit history. When it arrives, you look over it and grow concerned, finding the report includes an address that does not belong to you. What should you do?

1. As soon as you know or suspect that your credit history contains incorrect information, contact all three major credit report agencies to report the fraud and ask for a correction to your personal report:

Equifax:

1-800-525-6285

Experian:

1-888-397-3742

TransUnion:

1-800-916-8800

When you talk with each company's representative, ask which organizations have indicated a wrong address in the information submitted about your financial transactions to the credit bureau. It may be a computer glitch that mixed your name with another person's address on the report only. Or the mix-up may stem from one or more credit lending agencies or stores that confused your information with that of another customer.



2. Promptly contact each vendor to set the record straight. Ask for the customer service department and explain what happened as indicated in your credit report. Then ask that your account be adjusted, since the wrong address may have resulted in your charges being switched to someone else's account or vice versa. You may want to ask that a letter be sent to both the credit report companies and you indicating that the correction was made by a certain date and indicating by whom. Keep the letter on file in case you need it in the future.

3. Consider closing certain accounts. Old or unused credit accounts, new ones that don't belong to you, or those you are unsure of should be dropped from your credit report if possible. Send letters to each vendor with your account information, requesting that the account be closed. Check remaining statements and balances to be sure they are accurate.

4. Ask the credit report companies to check the account whose address appeared on your credit history. Have them be sure that no additional information was inadvertently misfiled or exchanged due to the error that caused the address switch.

5. Request an updated credit report after corrections have been made. Check it over carefully to be sure that all changes have occurred as promised. Keep your new copy on file in case future problems occur, such as being denied a credit card based on a faulty record.

6. Prevent the problem from happening again. While you cannot avoid computer glitches or other people's errors, you can take steps to protect yourself by checking your credit report at least once a year. Also check account information on your monthly credit statements from vendors. Carefully protect receipts from purchases so that other people cannot pick them up to use your charge account number. Report a loss or theft of credit card promptly.

A red tape nightmare that follows an address mix-up can take a great deal of time and effort to correct. Do your part to prevent such problems and check with vendors and credit reporting agencies to be sure that others do their part as well.

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