Sarah Edwards | October 21, 2022
Summary: When you notice any incorrect information on your credit report, you should dispute it with Equifax immediately. Doing so will not impact your credit score, unless the incorrect info is removed and your score goes up. Protect your credit score and fight off debt collectors with SoloSuit.
Dealing with creditors and credit reporting bureaus is frustrating. While you need good credit to obtain loans, buy a home, or get a job, staying on top of your credit score doesn’t rank too high on most people’s list of fun times.
Regardless, it’s essential to review your credit report to ensure its accuracy. After all, a credit report is one of the main ways financial institutions and other entities discern your reputation and payment credibility. If you have negative marks on your record, banks and other lenders won’t offer you the best credit terms available.
One of the best ways to monitor your credit report and keep your financials up-to-date is by scheduling an annual credit check-up. On the date of your choice, you download your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus and note any errors. If you find mistakes, you submit disputes along with proof of the mistake.
While an annual credit check-up isn’t the most exciting of activities, it can help protect you from serious infractions that impact your finances.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to obtain a copy of your Equifax credit report and submit disputes.
The federal government allows consumers to download a copy of their credit report from each credit reporting agency free of charge annually. If you have not obtained a copy of your credit report in the past year, you can simply visit Annual Credit Report and follow the requisite instructions.
If you’ve already viewed your Equifax credit report in the past year, you may still be able to get a copy for free via the Equifax website. Once you sign up for an Equifax account, the credit reporting agency will provide you with a copy of your report and current credit score.
Equifax offers various services that allow you to track your credit monthly and potentially improve your credit score. While the first month of the services is typically free, Equifax will charge you a monthly fee if you continue using it. You’ll need to cancel your subscription to avoid future charges unless you want to continue using the services.
Once you get a copy of your Equifax credit report, print it out. Sit down with a notepad, pen, and highlighter.
Review every aspect of your credit report from A to Z — even seemingly unimportant details like your name or date of birth. Credit reporting agencies handle lots of consumer information, and it’s not uncommon for them to mix up customer details.
Check the names of all of your creditors to ensure you recognize them. Review your account numbers, the maximum credit allowance you have, and the current reported balance. Note when you opened the account and inspect each monthly report from the creditor.
Highlight each discrepancy and write it down on your notepad. You’ll want to file a dispute for each mistake, even if it appears benign or doesn’t negatively impact your credit score.
It depends on the nature of your dispute. You should dispute personal details, like your address or date of birth, directly with Equifax.
If your disputes relate directly to creditors, attempt to contact them first. Let them know you’ve found incorrect information on your credit report. Describe the details of the mistakes. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue over the phone. However, you may need to provide evidence if they disagree with your findings.
If your creditor is still unwilling to remove the adverse reporting after you provide documentation, you’ll need to go directly to Equifax and file a dispute. Equifax will review the contents of your dispute and the evidence you provide.
Equifax will also reach out to your creditor to obtain information. Once the investigation is complete, Equifax will either remove the incorrect details or explain why they can’t be deleted.
Let's consider an example.
Example: Janet is getting sued for a debt she doesn't owe, and her credit score has taken a huge hit because of it. After some investigating, Janet discovers she is a victim of identity theft and that someone has opened up a credit card account in her name. She uses SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit with an Answer document, which helps her avoid a default judgment. Next, Janet reaches out to the creditor to report the fraudulent account. If the credit card company doesn't do anything, Janet may need to reach out to Equifax and the other credit reporting bureaus.
Consumers who note signs of identity theft, like accounts they didn’t open or collection notices that aren’t theirs, should take specific steps to correct their credit report.
First, contact the creditor listed on your report. Sometimes, people forget they have an account with lenders or don’t recognize the creditor’s name. You may owe money to the creditor but have long forgotten about it.
If you can’t correlate the account to your records, someone may have stolen your personal information to open an account with the lender. Visit the FTC website and file a complaint for identity theft. You’ll also want to notify your local law enforcement agency.
Victims of identity theft may want to seek legal assistance. Criminals can use your personal information for various illegal activities, including stealing money. A lawyer can help you determine the steps you need to take to restore your identity and protect yourself.
Once you file a dispute, Equifax has 30 days to investigate your complaint or delete the incorrect information. Someone from Equifax will contact you if they need additional information to make a decision.
You can monitor the status of your Equifax dispute online when you log into your account. You’ll also receive a letter once Equifax processes your dispute. The letter will include the results and provide additional resources to use if you disagree with the findings.
If you can successfully remove negative information on your credit report through disputes, you should see your credit score improve within 30 to 60 days.
Not all disputes will result in a significant boost to your credit score. Removing negative items over three years old may minimally increase your score. Newer negative information carries more weight than older adverse reporting.
If you adopt good financial habits and pay your obligations on time, your credit score will increase and you’ll become a good candidate for premium loans and mortgage rates.
Yes, you can submit multiple disputes to Equifax if you find more than one error. The same process applies. You’ll need to provide Equifax with a list of the disputes and all the evidence you have concerning the errors.
Equifax will review your disputes and contact your creditors for more information. If the creditor cannot substantiate the error, Equifax will delete the mistake from your credit report.
Equifax must finalize its investigation within 30 days or delete the error from your credit report.
Either option will result in similar results.
If you file the dispute by mail, you can request certified delivery to ensure Equifax receives your request. You can also make a copy of your full dispute letter and your evidence so you have it to refer to.
Equifax will accept multiple disputes within your letter. Ensure that the contents are easy to follow and that you include appropriate documentation to give credence to your claims.
You can send your disputes directly to Equifax at this address:
Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
If you file your dispute online, you’ll be able to track it easily with the confirmation code you receive after submitting your request. You’ll also be able to view the results whenever you log in to your account.
To submit a dispute online, simply visit myEquifax.
Yes, you can file a dispute over the phone. However, if you call in a dispute, you won’t have a record that you made the call. You also won’t be including any evidence to support your claim.
If you have supporting evidence, it’s best to file the dispute online or via the mail. If you’d rather call in your dispute, you can contact Equifax at (866) 349-5191.
Equifax accepts phone disputes between 8 a.m. and midnight EST and is open seven days a week.
According to an FTC study, approximately one in four people find errors on their credit reports that can impact their ability to obtain a loan. That number is especially concerning given the importance many financial institutions put on credit reports and scores.
However, the same study found that four of five people who file disputes with the credit reporting bureaus were able to correct the issue.
Credit reporting bureaus aren’t out to get you; they will take action if you notify them of mistakes. However, you must take the initiative to review your credit report regularly.
While checking your Equifax credit report may not be exciting, it can help you catch serious errors. Once you note any mistakes, report them to Equifax so they can begin the investigation process. Equifax must respond to your request within 30 days and take the appropriate actions to remove the erroneous information.
When you owe a debt and fall behind on your payments, your credit score will probably take a hit. However, it is not uncommon for inaccurate and fraudulent debt information to find its way onto your credit report.
If you are a victim of identity theft, or if your creditor has transferred your debt to a collections agency who has reported inaccurate information to the credit bureaus, you
When a debt collector initially reaches out to claim you owe them, you should respond with a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days. This forces the collector to validate the debt, and if they cannot, they will most likely back off.
If they continue to report inaccurate information, you can file a dispute explaining that you never received a proper debt validation. Experian will reach out to the collectors and remove the information as soon as they find out that the reported debt is invalid.
Learn more about how a Debt Validation Letter can help you in this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
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