Checking for errors on your credit report
Your credit report is a record of how well you manage your credit. Errors on your credit report may give lenders the wrong impression. If there's an error on your credit report, a lender may turn you down for credit cards or loans. They may also charge you a higher interest rate. It may also affect your ability to rent an apartment or get a job.
Errors may also be a sign that someone is trying to steal your identity.
Take a close look at your credit report at least once a year to check for any errors.
Checking for errors on your credit report
Once you get your report, check for:
- mistakes in your personal information, such as a wrong mailing address or incorrect date of birth
- errors in credit card and loan accounts. For example, payments you made on time that credit bureaus marked as late in your report
- accounts listed that you never opened, which might be a sign of identity theft
- negative information about your accounts that is still in your credit report after the maximum amount of time it’s allowed to stay on it
Checking your credit report for fraud
When looking at your credit report, look for accounts that don't belong to you. Accounts that you don't recognize might mean that someone has applied for credit under your name. It might also just be an administrative error. Make sure it's not fraud or identity theft by taking the steps to have it corrected.
If you find an error on your credit report, contact the lender and any other organization affected by the error. Tell them about the potential fraud.
If it's fraud, you should:
- contact Equifax and TransUnion to inform them about the fraud
- ask the 2 credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your credit report
- report it to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre
Add a fraud alert
A fraud alert, or identity alert, informs lenders of a potential or confirmed fraud. They’ll need to contact you and confirm your identity before approving any credit application. The aim is to prevent any further fraud from happening.
Ask Canada’s 2 main credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your credit report if:
- you've been a victim of fraud
- someone has stolen your wallet
- you've had a home break-in
They may charge you a fee and ask you to provide identification.
Fixing errors on your credit report
You have the right to dispute any information on your credit report that you believe is wrong. Credit bureaus must correct errors for free.
Step 1: Support your case
Gather receipts, statements and other documents related to your credit accounts. You may need them to prove your claim.
Step 2: Contact the credit bureaus
Both Equifax and TransUnion have forms for correcting errors and updating information. Fill out the forms to correct errors.
Before credit bureaus change the information on your credit report, they’ll need to investigate your claim. They’ll check your claim with the lender that reported the information.
If the lender agrees that there’s an error, the credit bureaus will update your credit report.
If the lender confirms that the information is correct, the credit bureaus will leave your report unchanged.
In some provinces, credit bureaus must send a copy of your revised credit report to anyone who recently requested it.
Step 3: Contact the lender
You may be able to speed up the process by contacting the lender yourself about the error. The lender is the company you owe money to. Ask them to verify their files and provide the credit bureaus with updated information.
Step 4: Escalate your case
If you’re not satisfied with the results of the credit bureaus’ investigation, ask to speak with someone at a higher level. Either at the credit bureaus or at your financial institution.
Federally regulated financial institutions must have a complaint-handling procedure to help resolve disputes between consumers and their financial institutions. This procedure includes an external complaints body.
Step 5: Add a consumer statement
If you’re not satisfied with the results of the credit bureaus’ investigation, submit a brief statement to your credit report explaining your situation. It's free to add a consumer statement to your credit report. The number of words credit bureaus allow on your statement may vary depending on the credit bureau and your province.
Lenders and others who review your credit report may consider your consumer statement when they make their decisions.
Filing a complaint about a credit bureau
If you feel that a credit bureau hasn’t treated you properly, you may choose to file a complaint. Start by contacting the credit bureau directly.
If you wish to make a complaint, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office. The federal government doesn’t regulate credit bureaus.
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