Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A Congressionally mandated study on credit report accuracy found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.
A Federal Trade Commission study of the U.S. credit reporting industry found that five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports.
"We definitely see complains of that nature," says Juliana Harris with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. "The credit reporting agencies are serving all fifty states so they are definitely maintaining a lot of information which is certainly going to open them up for a certain amount of error."
Harris says you should first request a free credit report to determine if any errors exist.
"Just look at the report and make sure everything is accurate, all of your personal information is correct and nothing is popping up in the credit lines section that is not yours."
If you do find information that is wrong, you can dispute it, but you'll need a few things first. You'll need to write a letter to the credit agency listing the error and why it's wrong, stating that you want it removed, and providing any documentation that support your claim.
"It's important to know your rights. You do have the right to dispute something on your credit report that's not accurate, that's not timely. It's important to do those things and if you're unsure you can always ask somebody about it."
The eight year FTC report is the first major study of its kind that looks at all the primary groups that participate in the credit reporting and scoring process. You can find a link to the full report www.FTC.org.