Mortgage Confidential: Credit report mistakes: Fixing them the easy way

Mortgage expert David Reed invites Walletpop readers to ask him questions about real estate financing. leave your questions in the comment section of this post.

Credit reporting involves a massive database. A credit repository is a library full of information about the payment histories of consumers nationwide. Each time someone makes a charge on a credit card or makes a payment each month, that individual act is recorded and sent to the database for other businesses to research credit histories of potential customers to determine their creditworthiness, or lack thereof. There are three main repositories that store such consumer information; Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. It's the job of these three organizations to store credit data sent to them by merchants who in turn use those same three to research credit histories of other potential credit customers. As you might imagine, keeping this database current and accurate is a challenge. And there are plenty of mistakes going around.

Is your name Joe Smith? Then you might imagine you're not the only Joe Smith who lives in Detroit. It's possible that at some point another "Joe Smith's" credit data could be accidentally "dumped" into your credit profile without your knowing about it. When you applied for credit, did you apply as "Joseph" instead of "Joe?" Or later in life did you drop the "Joseph" altogether and just went straight for the "Joe" moniker? "Smitty" maybe? Or perhaps your name was misspelled at some point by someone else and your name appears incorrectly at the credit bureau.

Did you pay that collection account but the credit report says you didn't? That bankruptcy is not yours? Who is that other Joe Smith, anyway?!?