Credit Reporting Errors & Identity Theft Lawyers
What are the Common Types of Credit Reporting Errors?
Credit reporting errors are a common issue in America today, affecting millions of consumers each year. These errors can have a significant impact on your credit score, and they can even result in denials for credit or loans.
So, how do credit reporting errors occur? There are several ways:
- Identity theft: If someone steals your identity and opens accounts in your name, it can result in errors on your credit report.
- Mixed-up information: Sometimes, credit reporting agencies mix up information from different consumers with similar names or social security numbers.
- Outdated information: Credit reporting agencies may not update your credit report with new information, resulting in outdated or incorrect data.
- Human error: Mistakes can happen, and human error can result in incorrect information being reported on your credit report.
The consequences of credit reporting errors can be severe. They can result in higher interest rates on loans, difficulty obtaining credit or loans, and even job denials. That’s why it’s essential to monitor your credit report regularly and dispute any errors that you find.
Examples of Credit Reporting Errors:
- Deceased reporting – being mistakenly reported as dead;
- Mixed files – someone else’s accounts and information are listed on an individual’s report;
- Identity theft – unauthorized and fraudulent accounts and transactions;
- Repossession that never occurred but is reported;
- Paid account that is reported as an outstanding debt;
- Accounts that are discharged in bankruptcy but are reported as delinquent;
- Bankruptcy that never occurred;
- Incorrectly reporting accounts as charged off or in collections;
- Paid tax liens reported as outstanding debts;
- Reporting derogatory accounts older than seven years;
- Reinsertion of previously deleted accounts;
- Duplicate reporting of the same account;
- Forbearance or deferment on loans or accounts but reported as delinquent;
- Materially misleading reporting.
What Type of Information Is On a Credit Report?
The three largest credit reporting companies are Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Collectively, they make up the lion’s share of the credit reporting companies whose reporting can affect your credit.
Consumers often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that is contained within their credit reports since it is not uncommon for credit reports to be 50 or more pages.
These reports will usually start with a summary of your personal information – i.e., name; addresses; telephone numbers; date of birth; social security number; and, employers.
Next, you see information regarding specific accounts that are being reported. Each account – or tradeline as referred to by the Credit Bureaus – will have an introductory section providing the name of the company, truncated account number, status, balances, and scheduled payments.
A detailed payment history will follow from there and is comprised of various shorthand codes.
If any reported information appears to be inaccurate, you will also find the address for the furnisher within the tradeline. As noted below, use this address to provide an explicit dispute with any supporting documents that are available. Keep in mind that if you are unclear or do not fully explain the inaccuracy, it is unlikely that the mark will be properly updated.
What Are the Types of Damages for Credit Reporting Issues?
A successful lawsuit that fixes inaccurate credit reporting will allow you to recover damages comprised of (1) actual damages; (2) punitive damages; and, (3) attorneys’ fees and costs.
Actual damages are split into two categories: (a) pecuniary loss; and, (b) emotional distress.
Pecuniary Loss: Pecuniary loss refers to the amount of out-of-pocket damages experienced by the consumer. Such damages incurred as the result of inaccurate credit reporting can be credit denials, reduction in spending limits, the inability to purchase or refinance a home to name a few common categories. A claim for pecuniary loss asserts that the inaccuracy on the consumer’s credit report resulted in the consumer either receiving no credit or credit at an inferior interest rate than what the consumer otherwise would have qualified for if their credit history was accurately reported. With the assistance of an economist, these damages can become very high very quickly. For example, how much more will the consumer have to pay for their home financed through a 30-year mortgage if the interest rate they received as the result of the inaccurate credit report is 1% worse than what they should have qualified for? This issue will force the consumer to pay more every single month for 30 years!
Emotional Distress: Consumers can seek to recover damages associated with stress, frustration, humiliation, sleepless nights, mental distress, loss of appetite, injury to reputation or creditworthiness, fights with loved ones, etc. that were incurred as the result of inaccurate credit reporting. It is inherently difficult to quantify the value of these damages so the jury is left to decide what will make the consumer whole. How much is the stress, etc. worth? Is it $1? Is it $100,000 or more?
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and send a message to other similar entities. In terms of inaccurate credit reporting claims, punitive damages will be imposed against the defendant if their conduct is found to be “willful.” This term covers both intentional conduct as well as actions taken in reckless disregard of the rights of the consumer.
What can a Montana credit reporting error lawyer do for you?
At Heenan & Cook, we have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations governing credit reporting and identity theft. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that any errors on your credit report are corrected.
Our attorneys have successfully represented clients in a wide range of credit reporting and identity theft cases, including:
– Disputing errors on credit reports
– Resolving identity theft issues
– Negotiating with creditors and credit bureaus
– Pursuing legal action against those who have violated your rights
We understand that dealing with credit reporting errors and identity theft can be overwhelming. That’s why we are here to help. Contact the experienced credit reporting and identity theft lawyers at Heenan & Cook for a free, confidential case evaluation.