I just had my own run-in with one of the three credit bureaus.
It was an honest mistake, really. But it proves a point I make to anyone who asks.
Everyone thinks fraud is the number one cause of inaccurate credit reports.
Mistakes by creditors or the credit bureaus themselves are the most common goofs on credit reports.
This week, I discovered that my home address had been changed on it, and a credit card account that is not mine was tacked on to it.
Here are the most common credit report goofs, according to my experiences and to www.creditinfocenter.com:
* ADDRESS CHANGES WITH SIMILAR LAST NAMES. That's what happened to me. My address was changed to a Cordova address whose owner's last name was 'Weise' instead of 'Wise.'
* INCORRECT ACCOUNTS. In my case, the account belonged to the 'Weise' family.
* LATE PAYMENTS. Your credit report should only list late payments from the last seven years. Anything after that should have been purged.
* CREDIT LIMITS. If your report lists the wrong credit limits on your lines of credit, it could affect your credit score.
You also don't have to hire a service to monitor your credit report. You can do that yourself, FOR FREE, directly with the three credit bureaus.
However, there are two credit monitoring services that I recommend, and their convenience is worth the money. You can shop those in my credit monitoring story on the Ask Andy page of wmctv.com, as well as the three credit bureaus. Here's the link: