Credit Report Error? They All Matter

Don't dismiss a minor error. It could be the sign of something more serious.

(Image credit: danielfela)

Question: An address listed on my credit report is incorrect. Is there any reason to start a dispute to change it? -K.K., Christine, N.D.

Answer: It’s a good idea to fix the error. The incorrect address could be the result of a “mixed file,” when information of two individuals gets combined into one credit report, or “it could be an indication of an attempt at identity theft,” says Paul Stephens, of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (opens in new tab). You can file a dispute on the credit bureau’s website (Equifax.com (opens in new tab), Experian.com (opens in new tab) or TransUnion.com (opens in new tab)). Stephens advises examining all of your credit reports for suspicious activity. You can order a free copy of your credit report from each bureau once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com (opens in new tab).

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.