Your credit report is an important piece of your credit history and should be reviewed in detail. It's especially important to check your credit report (which details how well you pay your loans, bills and credit card purchases) before applying for a loan or other credit, to know where you stand.

Check the accuracy of the following information on your credit report:
Name. Ensure the spelling of your name is accurate.

Address. Ensure your current and previous addresses are accurately reflected.

Social Security Number. Review for accuracy.

Open trade lines. Take care to ensure any account which is open and has a balance is one which has been opened with your authorization.

Credit Inquiries. Because these inquiries indicate to other lenders that you have applied for new credit (which could result in additional debt), lenders may view multiple recent inquiries on your credit report as a sign that you may be overextending yourself. Be sure to review this section to ensure all inquiries are valid.

Public record information. Ensure that any public records information, such as tax liens, monetary judgments, bankruptcies, etc., if any, are accurate and reflect the most current status and activity (knowing that there sometimes can be a delay of 30 days or more until the most recent activity is reflected on such reports).

How do I correct or dispute an error on one or more of my credit reports?

You should contact the appropriate consumer reporting agency (also known as credit bureau) and the lender directly. (Please see related links).

If you report an error to any of the consumer reporting agencies, they are required to investigate and respond to you within 30 days. If you are in the process of applying for a loan, immediately notify your lender of any incorrect information in your report. Your lender will need to reorder your credit report(s) and score once any changes have been made to your information at the consumer reporting agencies.

For more information about how to dispute credit report errors, please see the step-by-step guidelines, including a sample dispute letter, on the Federal Trade Commission web site.