Your Questions About Credit Reports Gov

William asks…

How to improve credit when I cannot get approved for a loan?

I’ve fixed my credit report and have no outstanding debt and it has been that way for over a year now, however, I cannot get approved for any kind of loan or any unsecured credit cards. How can I improve my credit so that I can get approved for these in the future?

John answers:

1) Obtain and use a credit card wisely
To start building good credit with your credit card, you will need to obtain the card, use it, and make the first payment before you will see any effect on your credit score. You may have to sign up for a “secured card” in the beginning, which means you will be required to deposit money (typically around $300) into an account controlled by the credit card company or bank in order to obtain the card. This deposit “secures” any debt you place on the card. It is a way for a creditor to take less risk when dealing with someone who has poor credit or no credit.

A secured card is just as good as any other credit card when it comes to building credit, for as with any credit card, the payment history on your secure card will be reported to the credit reporting agencies. So by making on-time payments (on-time payments are the No. 1 factor in determining a credit score) and carrying a low debt load (your debt balance-to-credit limit ratio is also a big credit score component), you will be building the history and profile that produces good credit.

Another way to build credit from scratch can include getting a low-limit retail store card or a gas card. Just be sure to pay the monthly balance in full so as to avoid the high monthly interest charges that many of these types of cards carry.

2) Review & understand your credit report
Review your credit report once a year. The higher your credit score, the better. A score below 680 usually results in a borrower being charged a higher interest rate or denied credit. If the report includes items that are inaccurate, request the report be corrected. You can receive a free copy of your credit report at and the Federal Trade Commission has a terrific Web site that contains a wealth of information regarding credit reports (including how to address inaccuracies) at

3) Take a loan
Another good way to build credit history is to pay off a small loan. Borrow from your bank or credit union to purchase a used car or a larger purchase, such as an appliance. Pay the loan on time and in full. Pay any student loans on time every month. (Remember: On-time payments are the No. 1 factor in determining a credit score.)

4) Build job history
A stable job history is another factor that lenders will consider when giving a loan. Creditors look at job history to understand a consumer’s stability and income.

5) Protect yourself from identity theft
Identity theft is at an all-time high, and it can destroy credit ratings. Remember that identity theft occurs both “offline,” and through the Internet. Protect yourself from unscrupulous individuals who could go through your trash, steal account numbers online or get personal information through complex “phishing” scams. Record all important financial information and account numbers in a secure place. Shred all documents that contain personal information. Never give out personal information in e-mails or in a phone call you did not initiate.

6) Create — and stick to — a budget
A good way to maintain a healthy financial lifestyle is to create — and stick to — a household budget. Many people fall into credit score disarray by spending beyond their means, building up debts, and maxing out credit cards. In budgeting, list ongoing monthly expenses (fixed expenses like rent or mortgage payments). Add variable expenses that are “must-buys” (food, gas, medicine). Leave two categories for savings and spending cash (for unexpected expenses and entertainment). Add monthly net income (the amount left after taxes and other paycheck deductions such as health insurance and 401(k) contributions). A free budget guide is available at

Good luck as you venture forth into the world of credit, and I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.



Lizzie asks…

Help disputing expired info on credit report?

I need to dispute expired info on my credit report. I have two charge off’s date open Nov. 98 and one dated Nov. 99. The same card shows up again on a collections account openned on Jan 05. How easy is it to dispute the expired information and is there a chance to dispute the collections agencies amount as the original date of this is actually related to the 1999 openned credit card. Thanks in advance!

John answers:

Here is a link on how to dispute with the CRA’s. They only respond if you follow the procedures as outlined in the FCRA. Most people will usually get a computer generated response letter stating the disputed items are valid if you do not include the required information.

Download a pdf file regarding how to dispute with CRA’s

I know of a lot of people who have followed this procedure and had items removed. This is the same information that those “pay to increase your credit score” web sites offer. Only here it is free.

Also note that it is illegal for anyone to re-date the debt as per the following:
[CITE: 15USC1681s-2] § 623. Responsibilities of furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies
a) Duty of furnishers of information to provide accurate information (1) Prohibition (A) Reporting information with actual knowledge of errors A person shall not furnish any information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency if the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the information is inaccurate. (B) Reporting information after notice and confirmation of errors A person shall not furnish information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency if– (i) the person has been notified by the consumer, at the address specified by the person for such notices, that specific information is inaccurate; and (ii) the information is, in fact, inaccurate.

If you find that the item on your report has been redated, you then have legal recourse to sue the creditor.

Hope this answers your question.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The advice contained herein is for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as Legal Counsel nor Legal Advice.

George asks…

Is there a site to get a FREE credit report?

I want to see my credit report but all sites that claim to give you a free report require a credit card. False advertising!

John answers:

I got mine free from

They’re listed on the government’s website:

Everyone is entitled to one free credit report from each of the reporting agencies per year. It’s free. No fees or membership of any kind at all. If anyone asks for any kind of payment for anything they’re frauds.


CAUTION!!! is a scam. You only get the “free” report after enrolling in a $15-a-month credit monitoring program. is a PAY service you should watch out for. They spam all the credit related questions on Yahoo Answers. That’s pretty sad and dishonest, and if they have that much time you know they’re not doing good business. They will automatically charge your credit card $15 every month, so BUYER BEWARE!!!

Daniel asks…

How can I correct something on my credit report?

My mom put a bill in my name that was in no way my bill. I do now know how to go about correcting this. The bill has been sent to a collection aggency and is now being reported on my credit report. Do I need to call the creditor? the collector? or the credit buraou to correct this? Thanks!
Well crap, I don’t want to charge my mom with identity fraud. True I’m mad about it, but not that mad. If she is in no way tied to the account, and I don’t mention that she did it, what is the likeliness that she will be charged for it? I know this is a vague question to be asked, but is there any way we can just transfer it into her name? I probably sound really stupid, but I appreciate your patience.
Okay, I don’t want to charge anyone with identity fraud. I just want this off my credit. And yes there is a double standard. I know it isn’t fair, but that is just how it is.

John answers:

There are a lot of good answers above with some correct information. Here are the steps you will need to do to get this corrected.

** You may be considered a victim of Identity Theft. Almost all cases of ID Theft involve a family member. I will address how to resolve this later.**

There are a few steps you must take to get your report updated.

1. You must request a copy of your report directly from the credit agency.
-You can do this by getting your Free Credit Report from the Federal Trade Commission at
– If you have applied for credit in the last 30 days you are entitled to a free copy of the report.
– You can pay for a copy of your report directly on the credit bureau sites.

2. You must complete a dispute. You can try to dispute the information online with EACH of the 3 agencies. If you need to send them documentation then you will need to write a letter explaining the information to be corrected/removed along with a copy of your documents.

3. The credit agency will process your request and send you a revised copy of your report reflecting the changes with in 45 days of the dispute. (The creditor has 30 days to verify the information is correct as reported or the info is removed. Then a couple of extra days for mailing stuff)

4. Contact the creditor – ask for a copy of the application or what ever was used to set up the account. Inform them that you did not open this account and are trying to resolve it.

5. When the collector calls let them know you are disputing the account, because it was not opened by you.

6. If the account can not be cleared in the above fashion you will have 2 choices:

i) Pay the debt your self and be done with it.
Ii) File for ID Theft.

**Identity Theft**

1. You must file a police report. Yes you would have to press charges against your mother. This is why most cases are just left and paid by the victim.

2. Put a freeze on your credit. Before anyone can pull or issue credit they will have to contact you by the phone # you provide on the report before they can proceed.

3. Add a consumer statement to the collection. This is a statement that can be added to the report to explain to the person looking at it the situation. This is done through the credit bureaus.

3. Wait, wait, and wait some more.

If the bill is small I suggest disputing it first. If it doesn’t go away then pay it.
Put a freeze on your credit.

If the bill is large and you can not pay it – Your only option is to file for ID Theft.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

~Danke Schoen

Nathan Ellis

Here is the contact info for the 3 agencies:

Equifax Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

701 Experian Parkway
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013

P.O. Box 4000
Chester, PA 19022

For more information on credit visit Fair Isaac’s(They created the credit score) site

~Danke Schoen

Nathan Ellis

Paul asks…

Where can i get credit bureau phone numbers?

I am trying to contact all three major credit bureaus. I am trying to dispute an item on my credit report. All the numbers i have for all 3 are just recorded messages. So i am unable to talk to a real person. Does anybody have the numbers or know where i can find them?

John answers:

Everyone is right calling is a waste of time. Even if you do speak to a person, they will just tell you the proper procedure to file a dispute, they like everybody else needs to have “written” documentation.

There is a standard procedure to dispute entries on ones credit report. These guidelines are provided by the FTC at the following link

Simply follow the proper procedures and you should get this resolved in a timely fashion. I have used this method and have had excellent results in under 30 days

Hope this helps answer your question.

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