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03/07/2017

Department Aids Consumers in Understanding Credit Reports, Scores

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Banking and Securities is advising consumers on the importance of reviewing their credit reports and scores. The department has published a new brochure [PDF] to help consumers better understand what information should be included in their credit report and steps to take if there is an issue.

“Information contained in your credit report can impact so many aspects of your daily life—from gaining employment, to renting an apartment or buying a home, to obtaining insurance,” noted Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann. “Therefore it is critically important for consumers to review their credit reports for accuracy and take steps to correct any errors they may find.”

Consumers are entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three nationwide companies – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Names, addresses, accounts, and outdated information contained in the report should be reviewed for accuracy.

If there is an identity theft or fraud issue with your credit report:

  • File a police report with local or state police for any fraudulent activity
  • Close any accounts that have been opened without your knowledge
  • Cancel cards for legitimate accounts if they have been compromised and have a new card issued
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the identity theft (here)
  • Place a fraud alert or freeze on the credit reports directly with the three credit bureaus

“Beware of companies that claim they can ‘erase’ or ‘fix’ your bad credit history,” Wiessmann warned. “No one can erase negative information from your credit report if it is accurate. These come-ons are typically scams.”

The three credit reporting companies can also provide a consumer’s credit score, usually for a small fee. Once all credit report issues have been corrected, paying bills on time and paying down debt are ways to improve your credit score.

Consumers in need of credit counseling may check with their bank or credit union, or may contact the national Foundation for Credit Counseling (here or at 1-800-388-2227). Anyone with questions regarding financial transactions or companies can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Novak - 717.783.4721

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