Perform a Credit Check-up

Identity Theft

To begin the process of improving your credit profile, order a copy of each of your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, the country's three major credit-reporting agencies. Many businesses and lenders report information to only one or two of the agencies, but rarely to all three. This causes the information in your reports to vary greatly. Reviewing each of your reports will provide you with a clearer picture of your overall credit profile.

During your check-up, be on the lookout for errors contained within your credit reports. It has been estimated that more than 40% of the reports on file contain mistakes. Do you have negative entries on your report that are incorrect, invalid or that have been in some way misrepresented? You should also look closely for unauthorized inquiries, incorrect mailing addresses and Social Security numbers, as these may indicate that you have been a victim of identity theft.

If you do find errors within your report or discover that you're a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to correct the items in question. As stipulated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), both the credit reporting bureau and the information provider (the person, creditor or organization that provided information about you to the credit-reporting agency) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. They won't make these fixes on their own, however; it is up to you to notify them of any mistake.