You can get a free copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three credit-reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In the months leading up to your mortgage loan application, consider taking advantage of those freebies to make sure your lender won’t call you with any surprises.
How to spot an error
Look for information that you don’t recognize. Is there an address listed where you haven’t lived? An employer you’ve never heard of? A credit card you don’t have? Any of these are red flags, as is information that should have fallen off your credit report, such as a bankruptcy that happened 11 years ago.
What to do about an error
Contact the credit bureau who provided you the report with the error; its contact information will be listed on your report. Also, contact the creditor—for example, the credit card company where you don’t have an account. Tell the reporting agency and the creditor what the mistake is, and send any supporting documentation.
If it’s more than just a mistake …
Sometimes an error on your credit report reveals a bigger problem: identity theft. If you think your identity has been stolen, go to www.identitytheft.gov. This website, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, helps consumers who have been victimized.
You don’t have to call everybody
Once the reporting bureau acknowledges the mistake on our report, it not only corrects its files but notifies the other credit bureaus to ensure the error is removed from your record.