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Most common mistakes in credit reports

US residents filed 197,709 credit report complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau between September 2021 and 2022. A new study found that as much as two in three problems that US residents complain about are related to their report containing information that does not belong to them.

  • West Virginia, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana have the biggest room for improvement in their credit score.
  • Only 52 out of 100,000 residents of West Virginia complain about errors in their credit reports.
  • Two-thirds of complaints are related to reports containing information belonging to someone else.
  • In Oklahoma, reports are often used improperly, but most cases are resolved following a formal complaint.
  • Minnesota has the best credit score, while Georgia complains the most about fixing their credit reports.

West Virginia residents file the least complaints about their credit reports of all US states with below-average credit scores. This is despite the Federal Trade Commission estimating that around one in four credit reports contain errors. Other states missing out on improving their credit scores include New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana.

According to a study from consumer protection attorneys FCRA by Fair Credit, this analyzed data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Experian from September 2021 to 2022. It discovered that 131,989 of the total 197,709 credit report complaints concern specifically information that belongs to someone else.

The study found that 18 US states have credit scores below the national average of 714. Of them, the ones that complain the least about errors in their credit reports are West Virginia, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana. Residents of these five states have the biggest potential to improve their credit scores and catch up with the US average.

Issues people most complain about

  • The prevailing issue people complain about their credit scores in West Virginia, New Mexico and Kentucky is someone else’s data being misattributed to the account holder. This is the case for 66.7% of US states, where 131,989 complaints out of the total of 197,709 between September 2021 and 2022 concern specifically information that belongs to someone else.

Meanwhile, Indiana residents are facing three main issues. Besides dealing with incorrect information on their reports and their improper use, the investigations of credit reporting companies into existing problems largely end up unresolved.

A spokesperson for FCRA.com commented on the findings: “When discovering they have a low credit score, many people assume they need to make drastic changes to their financial habits. However, in every fourth case, at least, it is entirely not their fault and is simply a matter of correcting one’s credit report.

“We were very surprised to learn that very few people are aware that there is a 25% chance that a low credit score is not their fault and, secondly, that this can be easily fixed by taking legal action. Errors in your credit report, background check or tenant screening can lead to unfair interest rates, higher rent and even cost you your job or your dream home. Checking your credit score is free via the official website – annualcreditreport.com – and can save you great grief when you need that three-digit number to be in top shape.”

The study was commissioned by FCRA by Fair Credit – a law firm specializing in correcting credit report errors, background checks and tenant screenings.

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