What do you do if you’ve found incorrect information on your credit report? Although it’s very unlikely that it’ll ever happen to you, it’s still important to know what to do in the event that you spot something that doesn’t look right. This is because the impact incorrect information may have on your credit report can be quite severe.
The good news is that the process for dealing with this sort of thing is actually very simple, and in this blog we’ll walk you through the steps you can take to tackle incorrect data.
Step 1: Double check that the information is actually incorrect
This might seem like common sense but it never hurts to double check. For example, a search with a name that you don’t recognise could be the parent company name of a business you might remember applying to for a credit card, loan or other financial product.
Step 2: Rule out fraud
Once you’ve discovered incorrect information on your credit report, your first move should be to rule out any chance that a fraudster might be involved. Common signs of fraud include:-
- A new financial account that you don’t remember opening
- A new short-term loan that you don’t remember taking out
- Searches on your credit report from companies you don’t recognise and that you didn’t expect to run a search against you
- The presence of an address you’ve never lived at in the ‘Address Links’ section of your credit report
Once you’ve found an anomaly on your credit report, it’s essential to first check with the associated company to see if it isn’t the parent company of a business you might recognise.
If you definitely don’t recognise it, your next step is to report the crime to the authorities. The authority for fraud and cybercrime is Action Fraud, which is a specialist division of the national police who deal specifically with fraud and cybercrime cases. When you’ve reported the crime, Action Fraud will give you a police crime reference number.
Afterwards you may also want get in touch with Cifas to get protective registration. This paid-for service alerts Cifas members that your details may be being used to commit fraud. Consequently, if an application for credit is made, it flags it to the organisation so they’re more thorough in their checks.
Here at Noddle we also offer support in the form of Web Watch, which for £20 for 12 months scours the web 24/7 for your details to make sure they’re not being sold or traded illegally online. If we find anything, we’ll send you an alert.
Step 3: Speak to your lenders and other organisations
Your next step should be to speak to your lenders. The information that credit reference agencies (CRAs) hold comes directly from banks, building societies and other organisations, such as local authorities, so if it is incorrect on your credit report, chances are it’s incorrect with these organisations too. Many changes are dependent on us receiving an update from your lenders, which happens every 4-6 weeks. This, coupled with the 30 day refresh period, means that changes can take up to 10 weeks to be reflected in your Noddle report.
You should also always make sure you’re letting your lenders know of any changes to your address or name to prevent incorrect information appearing on your credit report.
Step 4: Get help from the Noddle Team
If you’re unable to fix the error yourself by speaking to the relevant organisation who gives us the data, then you can raise a dispute. Raising a dispute means you can enlist the help of our team of data disputes specialists – they’ll look into it and come back to you within 28 days with an update. If the organisation agrees that the information is inaccurate, they can make the necessary amendment or ask us to update your file.
We have a dispute process because as a CRA we’re unable to make changes to your credit report without first seeking authorisation from the lender. If we were to make a change without getting approval from the lender, it would just be overwritten the next time they sent us an update.