Below are the most frequently asked questions about this area.
If you are unable to find your answer here, please email us your question.
There are over 100 Credit Bureaus throughout the United States. Our company is shown as "CBS, Inc" and service Nebraska. If you have a tradeline that shows "Credit Bureau Services", we suggest you start with the state you currently reside in or resided in.
Note: If the credit report you are reviewing was provided to you online, from one of the big three repositories (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian,) they are required by law to tell you the creditor information, BUT only if you request it. So look closely when ordering credit reports online.
No. In fact, it will harm it. Your credit score is dependant on "open" accounts. So the best way to raise your credit score is to have a few credit cards for a long time and pay on time.
Your credit record contains a wide array of personal and confidential information. It may contain any or all of the following:
- Identifying information - name, current and prior addresses, social security number, employment history, and date of birth.
- History of paying habits with credit grantors, retail stores, banks, finance companies, mortgage companies, including collection or charged-off accounts
- Public record items - tax liens, judgments, bankruptcy
- Inquiries-each time a credit grantor or other authorized party requests a copy of your record.
In order to access your credit record, an individual or business must have permissible purpose as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under this Act, permissible purpose is any of the following: with written instruction by you; as part of a credit transaction; for employment purposes; a court order; underwriting insurance; a government agency for the purposes of issuing a license or government benefits, or in review for collecting amounts owed on an account.
A. Currently all citizens are eligable to receive a free credit report annually from each of the national CRA's. To receive your free annual credit report call 1-877-322-8228. You will be able to order all three reports at the same time. It will take about 2-3 weeks to receive them.
Or you can call or write the National CRA's:
|PO Box 674402||PO Box 949||PO Box 390|
|Houston, TX 77267||Allen, TX 75013||Springfield, PA 19064|
|(800) 422-4879||(800) 658-1111||(800) 888-4213|
Each of these companies may have a different credit record for you and you may be charged a nominal fee for a copy of each report. You may qualify for an additional free report if you can prove you 1) were denied credit, 2) unemployed and plan to seek employment, 3) are on welfare, or 4) your report is inaccurate due to fraud. If these conditions exist, you must contact the National CRA's directly.
The first step is to contact the original credit grantor and try to resolve it directly with them. Once the problem is fixed, request written confirmation that your account has been corrected. Request that the company report the correct status of your account to a National Data Bank and find out which one(s) the corrected information was sent to. It may take up to 90 days for the corrected information to be reflected on your credit record. Get a copy of your credit report to check the information is accurate.
If your credit record is still incorrect, contact the Credit Reporting Agency listed at the bottom of your credit record. You must make this request in writing. Detail the incorrect information and provide copies of any supporting documents. Once your dispute is received, the Credit Reporting Agency has 30 days to investigate. They will contact the source of the information and present them with the evidence you provided. You will be contacted in writing about the results of the investigation.
Inaccurate information must be removed from your report. Normally a Credit Reporting Agency will update this information manually to facilitate your completion of a current credit transaction. We strongly recommend that you review your credit report annually to check it for accuracy and completeness.
Also, if a business obtains your credit report from us, then we can assist you directly with any problems. Merely ask the business for a copy of the report that they received and then visit our office to discuss the situation with our staff.
Due to automation, sometimes inaccurate information can reappear. This is due to the original credit grantor resubmitting incorrect information. The Credit Reporting Agency only has control over the printed report, not what the credit grantor reports. This is why we recommend you work directly with the original credit grantor to get it resolved.
You have the right to add a brief statement to your credit report. It needs to be 100 words or less and should include factual information. The Credit Reporting Agency must include a summary of your statement in future credit reports issued.
This situation could be due to several reasons, some of which can be blamed on automation. Generational titles on same names could be merged together. Individuals that reside near you with same names could mistakenly be merged with your data. It is important to closely review your credit report to see if that may of occurred. Look for AKA (also known as) situations. Look closely at the SSN's that are being reported, is there another's SSN there? Look at all addresses, are they accurate? If you should see differences there, it could be that you were accidently merged with another's file. If that is the case, notify the CRA that prepared the report. Indicate which tradelines are not yours and also tell them which addresses & SSN's do not belong to you. Let them know that you and another's file may of been merged.
The majority of Identity Theft situations deal with stolen credit cards. However, there are situations where "True Name Theft" occurs. If someone has taken your personal information and opened accounts in your name, the first step is to file a police report right where you live. Make sure you get a signed copy. The next step is to contact your local Credit Reporting Agency. They will be able to direct you to the National Data Bank hotline for the Fraud Victim Department. Trans Union's Fraud Victim Department phone number is (800) 680-7289. It is critical that you keep copies of all documents and you request information be confirmed in writing.
The National Data Banks offer pre-screened mailing lists to companies who may contact you with offers for goods and services. To remove yourself from these mailing lists, call 1-888-567-8688. The Direct Marketing Association also provides a free service to allow consumers to remove their names from other mailing lists. You can register to have your name removed from mailings with the Mail Preference Service https://www.dmachoice.org/ .
To remove yourself from telephone solicitors you can register your phone numbers with https://www.donotcall.gov/. This phone registration is only good for five years.
To remove yourself from "prescreened" offers of credit and insurance call 1-888-567-8688.
If you find you cannot make your payments, contact your credit granters immediately. They are more likely to understand if you contact them before your payment is overdue. Some maybe able to delay the payment for a period of time. Or try to work out a modified payment plan with your creditors that reduce your payment to a more manageable level. Or maybe just changing the day the bill is due could make a difference. Do not wait until your account is turned over to a debt collector. At this point the creditor has given up on you.
Before signing up with such a business, make sure you understand what services the business provides and at what cost. Do not rely on oral promises that do not appear in your contract. Some consumers who turn to such businesses may encounter additional problems. For example, debt consolidation or other loans may have high hidden costs and may require your home as collateral. Also, credit grantors are NOT obligated to agree to the terms set-up by consumer counseling programs. Be certain you understand the program and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Bankruptcy should be considered only as a last resort. Bankruptcy can ruin your chances for a future loan to buy a house or car, to send your child to college, or to take advantage of a business opportunity. If you do file bankruptcy, it will be reported on your credit record for at least 10 years. While it is true that consumer bankruptcy law has changed and is now more lenient for the debtor, bankruptcy is not a "quick fix" for your financial problems. Newspapers carry advertisements promoting bankruptcy as a way to be "free from debt" or "improve your credit rating". No matter what anyone tells you, even if he is an attorney, bankruptcy will not improve your credit rating. Businesses that advertise bankruptcy-related services may not tell you all that is involved or if other alternatives exist. There are benefits to choosing an alternative to bankruptcy. Consider the choices before consulting an attorney. It's your future.
Stay calm and remember, debt collectors are trained to solve payment problems. Be honest with them about your ability or inability to pay right away. Let him or her work with you to establish a reasonable payment plan.
Divorce does not stop your obligations to pay a debt, no matter what the divorce degree states. You should close any accounts you and your ex-spouse had together. These will remain on your credit record. If you need credit, open new accounts in your name only.
Don't be misled by advertisements that promise to "repair" or "clean up" your credit record. In fact, many of these promises could be illegal. Many firms advertise getting an Employee Identification Number and using it as a Social Security Number. This is illegal and you would be held liable if you do this. There are only two things that can improve your credit record: 1) prompt payment on accounts and 2) time. Adverse information may be reported for up to 7 years, with bankruptcy reporting for 10 years.