Thursday, April 16, 2009

i got some credit in the straight world.

Today I recommend taking a day off. From anything. (Actually, I guess I recommended that yesterday.)

Okay. Take two.

Today I recommend: checking your credit report.

I had never done this before. It’s not that I didn’t care what my credit rating it; it was just that I was not concerned. I was secure in the knowledge that my credit was good. I paid my things on time. I didn’t abandon debts. I had gotten into some situations when I was younger, but I had resolved it all, and it was all old enough that it should have been off of my report.

A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to check my credit reports as a way of procrastinating from actually doing anything productive, i.e. schoolwork. What I found really shocked and amazed me.

The first one I ran was through Experian. Experian just had a staggering amount of blatantly false/inaccurate information about me. I’m talking:

  • 4 alternate forms of my name, two of which were just wrong and which neither I nor any or my family members had ever used.
  • 3 SSNs on file for me, besides my real one.
  • 1 address in the boondocks of NJ. Neither my parents nor I have ever resided at this address.
  • Countless (okay, about 7) accounts that were not and never have been mine. Many of these were either accounts belonging to my father or joint accounts he shared with my mother. Several of these were opened BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN. Experian even acknowledged that they were opened before I was born, and that it “may be suspicious.” Amazing how it just blatantly tells you, “Yeah, somebody fucked up and this can’t possibly be yours, but we’re going to hold it against you anyway.”

I filed disputes with all of the incorrect information on Experian, then moved on to  TransUnion. TransUnion’s free service is very helpful, in that it will actually supply you with your report for all three credit reporting agencies. TransUnion was also the most accurate of the three with my records, although I still found a lot of my parents’ accounts somehow tied in to my identity. Still, though, the fact that they had the most accurate records of the three was tied in to the fact that my numerical score with them was also the highest.

I’m warning you all now – EquiFax is a pain in the ass. It’s a good thing TransUnion allowed me to view my EquiFax report, because EquiFax did not seem to allow me to generate a free report. EquiFax’s website seems to imply that one is only entitled to a free online report if one was recently denied credit. Otherwise, I was free to request a hard copy via mail. Fortunately, I already had the report from TransUnion, so  could just take that information and dispute it online, right?


In order to dispute something online with EquiFax, one needs to have gotten their report online from EquiFax. Something for which I was not eligible.

Oh well, there’s always telephone.

Right, except that in order to dispute by telephone, one must already have a report number. One obtains a report number from… that’s right, you guessed it, opening an online report from EquiFax.

At least they allowed me to print out a PDF and write in my information and EVERY DISPUTE I wished to make. By hand. I couldn’t even type into it and then print it out. Fail. EquiFax is quite obviously the least user-friendly and most behind-the-times of the three agencies. 

Perhaps it is not coincidental that my EquiFax score was the lowest of the three. Like, depressingly low.

So basically, after being responsible and working my ass off to keep up with this stuff and rebound from some mistakes I made years and years ago, it was a real revelation to find that my scores, which I had assumed were safely in the at least moderately high range, were just scraping along in the acceptable range (and one of them not even). All due to misinformation, mistaken identities which should never have been an issue, and some off-the-wall random errors that seem to have come from absolutely nowhere.

I’m waiting to get all of this straightened out. I’m already so stressed out with school and with work, It’s really taken a mental/psychic toll on me. I suppose the lesson/moral here is that it is your right to view your information on this shit and to make sue that everything is nice and accurate. If you don’t do it, nobody is going to do it for you. These companies, it goes without saying, don’t care about you and will not hesitate to crush you given the chance. Don’t let it happen. Be assertive and call these companies out on things when they need to be called out.

Now, more than ever, we need to stand up to these corporations and claim the rights to which we are entitled. If we don’t, who will?

*                        *                        *

N.B.: Do not make the same mistake I did and go to each credit reporting agency website individually. It would have saved me a lot of trouble last week had I seen this before I did so. In any case, I have already cancelled the “free trials” of the services that are rather bogusly associated with these agencies, since I have already gotten the information I wanted out of them. At least for next year I know about this truly free consolidated report.


Post a Comment

hi. please be nice, and please don't be a spamming bot or something. we really do read every comment!