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Tag Archives: Credit Monitoring

Step Two – So now your have your reports?

After collecting your credit reports and identifying any inaccuracies in your report; you’re going to want to send the bureau(s) a certified letter demanding the removal of your incorrect item(s) with the report included.

The first time you send your letter(s) be sure to include COPIES of all documents and every time after that you will want proof of your dispute in the future so DO NOT PUT IN THE ORIGINAL COPIES. You want to keep files of all your disputes, have a copy of the ‘package’ you mailed the bureaus. Credit bureaus are known to bring things back up that is why I am forewarning you. A good example would be past (paid) collection accounts. I would hate to have that report again to your credit if it was already settled, right?

When you mail a certified letter through the post office you will need to pay a little bit more but you are ensured someone is going to sign for your letter. Typically you will get a ‘green slip’ in the mail after 3-5 days with a stamp from the entity on the back verifying that it was retrieved. From that point on you can begin counting your days. The investigation process takes some time which we will get into, but as a friendly reminder:

  • Do not sign your name on anything you send to the CRA’s
  • Never send original copies
  • Always send certified return receipt
  • Include your report (highlight or make prominent the inaccuracy)

You are also going to want to ensure you stay organized. Do not send all disputes at once, you are allotted three disputes at a time. You do not want to be marked as frivolous because you will be in a sense ‘blacklisted’ from disputing that inaccuracy. Do your research make sure you’ve included everything for the bureaus to start the investigation process. The more you can provide them the better off you will be and the faster you will be traveling on your path to having great credit.

What helped me in this process is my monitoring service as well. Although I had my reports I would compare and contrast them to the monitoring service. The reason I did this is because the monitoring service doesn’t typically give you all the information and address that the CRA would typically give in their report. The monitoring services really give you the bare minimum. What can make your credit repair process a lot harder.

It’s also a excellent idea to get your reports in full from the bureaus individually and use the monitoring service only to track updates.Then you can make sure that the monitoring service is working as expected and you can also see your scores rise as you dispute items on your credit. As you watch your scores raise it will give you the benefit of the doubt that it is working. There are stagnant times when your credit doesn’t budge. Those times happen to the best of us! Usually what will happen is the big stuff makes the biggest difference, that is what you want to attack first.

CG

 

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Documentation to prove identity when disputing inaccuracies – What do I need to send?

It’s important that you send all requests through certified mail. You will need to keep your certified return receipt as well. This will help to track your letter and it will ensure with the ‘green slip’ there was someone that had signed for your letter.

When you are mailing your disputes to the CRA’s (credit reporting agencies) or requesting a credit report directly from them be sure to include these documents:

  • Your Full Legal Name
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Current Mailing Address
  • If Less Than 5 Years, Include Your Previous Address
  • A Copy of Your Driver’s License Showing Your Current Address
  • A Copy of Your Social Security Card – If Your SS Number Is Not On Your Driver’s License

There are often other times where a bureau will request more information to verify your identity. Those documents could be any of the items below:

  • Current Employer
  • Current Employer Address
  • Phone Number
  • Signature
  • Current Utility Bill
  • Lease Arrangement/Rental Receipt

**FACT: I’ve always been told to not provide your signature for the privacy of yourself. You would not want to have your signature placed on something that you did not agree to. You must be very careful in repairing credit on your own. If you have questions or concerns I am here to help!

CG

 

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Federal Trade Commission – Your rights as a consumer

The Federal Trade Commission requires that all businesses place this at the top of their site:

“You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.” – therefore you can use this site to pull all three reports absolutely free! You have the right as a consumer to access your credit reports. You may also send snail mail to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348 if you would prefer.

Credit monitoring services are usually the best route to retrieving your credit reports and scores. Typically you will have to purchase your scores separately if you utilize AnnualCreditReport.com. Some sites will claim that they are free, but usually require you enroll in some product or service. I recommend using a monitoring service because you can see updates monthly or quarterly. Also you receive alerts when your credit updates which is very important when repairing your credit.

Also here is the Fair Credit Reporting Act link from the Federal Trade Commission website: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf it has depth to it.

CG

 

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Comparing services – Monitoring services I’ve used

As I stated earlier I was going to dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services. First I am going to touch bases on the services I’ve used and my experiences with them.

  1. Free Score
  2. Score Sense
  3. Identity Guard

Free Score – I utilized Free Score for probably about 6 months. It was my very first monitoring service that appealed to me. Unfortunately after that extended period of time I started to feel a bit ‘taken advantage of’. I say this because I was not receiving notifications/alerts that my credit was being updated.

I know too that my credit indeed was updating. I became a bit frustrated after I applied for a new line-of-credit to establish my credit further and I did not receive a notification that I had a ‘new installment loan’. I decided to part with Free Score after I realized their information was not posting as immediate as I would prefer.

Score Sense – I found Score Sense which I felt was just up my alley like Free Score. I started to fool around with their site and realized that once again, I needed to get up to speed with my alerts. I began to notice that I wasn’t getting my monies worth. The education center on the site wasn’t as detailed as Free Score either.

Identity Guard – Identity Guard is a little higher in price, but you get what you pay for! I have been with Identity Guard now for about a month. I am very satisfied with the results. I know that with this service I actually feel safe. I feel like my information is secure, I know I’m protected in all verticals. I am alerted almost instantly by email when there’s an update to my report or score! Which isn’t that the purpose of having a monitoring service? To make you feel safe, secure, protected?

Overall all three of these were ideal for the time being. It really comes down to what is the best for you and your situation? What features would you like to see in a monitoring service? Those things matter!

My suggestions to you would be to do your research. It’s good to use a free trial first, therefore you can fool around and get comfortable before you lock yourself in!

GC

 

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Soft inquiries – When was the last time you saw your credit report?

It’s very important to start a monitoring your credit once you’ve receive your reports. Credit monitoring services also protect you from ID theft and allow you to stimulate your credit score by entering specific information pertaining to: additional inquires, paying down your debt, missing a payments, etc.

When was the last time you saw your credit report? How long did it take you to feel comfortable or confident enough to really make the educated decision to pull it?

When you do secure a credit monitoring service and your credit is pulled; the inquiry will be a soft pull. A soft pull does not harm your credit score. It is done occasionally by insurance companies or rental agencies, and it is only visible to you. Do not be afraid to utilize a monitoring service because it will ‘hurt your score’ – that is a myth.

I know for me once I saw the damage on my report I knew I had to start the disputing process. My very next step was to secure a legitimate service to help me. I could then begin to track my progress when I was disputing the inaccuracies I found.

There are a few great monitoring services out there that you can choose from. I will dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services I have used in the past soon! Then you can make the executive decision on which one is best for you based upon my past experiences with their sites.

CG

 

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