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What consumers can do

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Experts say the best defense against credit errors is to check your report, as often as once a year.

If you've been turned down for credit because of a report, you are entitled to a free copy of the report. In Maryland, bureaus must provide free reports to all consumers at least once a year.

When reviewing your credit report, look for addresses or employers that are unfamiliar, and also check for aliases, which might indicate a file mixed with another consumer's. Also check each account, making sure it belongs to you, that the loan amount or credit limit is correct, and that any record of late payments is accurate. Even a small number of late payments can sink a credit score.

If you find an error, contact the credit bureau at the telephone number, Internet address or mail address listed below. Provide as much information as you can. You can also file a dispute with the original creditor, such as a bank, mortgage company or credit card issuer.

The bureaus generally are required to delete the disputed information within 30 days, unless it is verified by the creditor.

If you can't get an error fixed, you can complain to the FTC or file a lawsuit. Access the FTC's website at www.ftc.gov.

Equifax
www.equifax.com
Corporate offices
1550 Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30309
To order a credit report:
(800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
To dispute items on a credit report:
Call telephone number provided on report
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian
www.experian.com
Corporate offices
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
To order a credit report:
(888) 397-3742
(866) 200-6020 (to request a reduced-fee credit report)
For questions or disputes about a credit report:
(888) 397-3742

Transunion
www.transunion.com
Corporate offices
555 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3614
To order a credit report:
(800) 888-4213
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
For questions or disputes about a credit report:
(800) 916-8800
TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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