Finding “Hidden” Errors in Your Credit Report

You have the right to have a credit report that is factually correct, current, and verifiable.

Anything account that is not 100 percent true and correct is subject to investigation and possible deletion.

When you read your credit report and see a derogatory account, look to see if all the details are correct, because oftentimes, there is an error that you might not notice if you don’t look closely. For example…

Are all the dates correct? Before you say yes, compare the dates of the late payments across all three credit reports. Oftentimes, Experian will show Jan – May on time with June 30 days late. While Equifax shows Jan – June on time with July 30 days late. (For example)

One bureaus shows June late and the other shows June on time. Both cannot be true! This is a factual error. You have the right to request a deletion based on false information posted. (It is your choice to request a correction to the dates or to request a deletion based on erroneous info posting.)

Another common error is that the account number doesn’t match from one credit bureau to another.

Another possible error is a partial account number showing. If you cannot see the entire account number, how can you verify that the account is truly yours? “This doesn’t match my records. Delete.”

Don’t overlook your name spelling. If you have a credit card or loan with a nickname, call the credit card company or lender and get that changed to your correct legal name. If you still have a nickname on your credit report, send in 3-5 pieces of ID that show your true legal name and get that nickname removed.

Any false information, especially including an incorrect name or address, on your credit report can be the result of a merged credit file where someone else’s information is merged onto your report. Obviously, you don’t want that!

Thank you to all my readers who have made Repair Your Credit Like the Pros a bestseller. I truly appreciate you and your recommendations to other good people who might benefit from the information.

Turning $9K into $300K Real Estate Wealth

How would you like to turn $9,000 into $300,000 in ten years? Wouldn’t that be fantastic!

Not many people can save almost a third of a million dollars in cash in ten years, but people with ordinary incomes who can come up with a three percent down payment are acquiring significant wealth in real estate. AND…

people who can’t save 3% but who qualify for a down payment assistance program do the same!

One of the best ways to set yourself up financially is to become a homeowner. Historically, real estate doubles in value approximately every ten years. Let’s look at a scenario:

You put $9,000 down on a $300,000 house or condo. That $9K could be your own money, gift from family, or from down payment assistance, or a combination.

In ten years, your home is worth $600,000, assuming it doubles in value. You have now gained $300,000 in real estate wealth. This is not liquid cash you can spend, but it represents security.

If needed, you could sell the house and make a large profit, even after paying closing costs.

Or, you could sell and move up to a better house.

Or, you could keep the house until you owned it free-and-clear.

Eventually, you could pass it on to your children through your will. This is called generational wealth. It gives the next generation a big leg up financially. There are some groups in America who have not had the advantage of generational wealth. Now is the time to change that; and for your own family, it can start (or continue) with you.

Let’s go back to our example:

$300,000 gained over time
+ $9,000 original down payment
+ 18,000 paid down on the mortgage (estimated)
= $327,000 wealth accrued in real estate (estimated)

Let’s say you decide to spend $9,000 to buy a car instead of a house or condo. Ten years later, what do you have?

A car that’s worth less than what you paid for it.

Let’s say you decide to spend $9,000 on a cruise, a new wardrobe, and some souvenirs. Ten years later, what wealth have you gained?


It takes vision, patience, and self-discipline to save money for a down payment. For some people it takes applying for down payment assistance (if their income qualifies).

I could write a book on this topic and include sources for down payment assistance in all 50 states… oh, wait! I did.

If you want all the insider information on how to qualify for a home loan, and
the intel to get the lowest interest rate like the loan officers do, and
avoid the needless, stupid junk fees,
and learn how to avoid the pitfalls,
and what loan programs there are for people without top tier credit,

then head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Get the Mortgage You Want Like the Pros now before the price increases.

I’m a huge fan of homeownership. My first house was a smelly dump, but I fixed it up and sold it for a $25,000 profit three years later.

I hope this inspires someone to become a homeowner. Please feel free to ask a question in Comments.

Most Common Error on Credit Reports (You also?!) + Lexington Law Fined Billion$

When you receive your credit report, check first for the most common errors:

  1. Incorrect name spelling or a wrong name or a nickname instead of your legal name
    It is important that your name is correct on your credit report. If you are Robert, you shouldn’t have Bob on your report. If you are Ladonna, you shouldn’t have La Donna on your report or L’Donna.

    You might not think having an alternate is a big deal, but it is a BIG DEAL when someone else’s $5,000 collection appears on your report and a lawsuit is filed against you.

    Get your name fixed on ALL your legal documents, including your credit report.
  2. Incorrect addresses
    As a mortgage broker, I saw a lot of credit reports. It’s surprising how many include an address that is false, and when that happened, the person had to write a Letter of Explanation for the underwriter about the address, because when getting a home loan, the lender must know if you own a rental property.

    Your parents’ address (your childhood home) should not be on your credit report. Nor should a storage unit or a place of employment be there. And if there’s an old address where you never took out credit or had ancient bad credit that is closed, get that off, too, because you have a right to an updated report.
  3. Wrong Social Security Number
    Check it because a wrong number could result in a disastrous case of mistaken identity.

When sending in a letter to correct your personal identifiers, make absolutely certain your supporting document is EXACTLY the same as what your name/address should be. Don’t get sloppy and send in a piece of ID that has your name different.

See here for more information about sending supporting documentation.

LEXINGTON LAW and Fined Billions of Dollars — WOW!!!

Lexington Law and were sued by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). They reached a settlement agreement outside of court for $2.7 Billion, and now it’s up to a judge to approve the agreement. In addition, they cannot telemarket for business for 10 years.

How are they going to pay that? I don’t know, because Lexington Law has now filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Will they continue business or be permanently shut down? I’ll be watching to find out. If you’d like to read more about this, see here.

If you’re too busy or overwhelmed to do your own credit repair, hiring an ethical and honest credit repair company is a valid option. But you can also save your money and do your own credit repair if you like.

Available in Paperback and Kindle

Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Credit Scores? (Take a guess!)

Is your credit score in the average range? Are you in the top 2%? Are you considered “sub-prime”? Let’s look at some facts and statistics.

First, just for fun, guess which state in the U.S. has the highest average credit score. And the lowest.

Got your guess? (Tell me in the comments if you guessed right.)

Congratulations goes to Minnesota, the state with the highest average credit score at 742.

The state with the lowest average credit score is Mississippi at 680.

Only 1.3% of Americans have a perfect credit score of 850.

If you have subprime credit, lenders, credit card companies, and insurance companies are charging you higher interest rates and fees. And how does that help you pull out of subprime status?! Clearly, they’re not about helping you but about raking in more money if they perceive you as being a higher risk.

The subprime classification is somewhat fluid, but we can say a score of less than 580 is in that category. Having seven accounts with late payments will put you in the subprime category. Some stricter lenders classify any score below 620 as subprime.

Nearly 1 in 3 people have subprime credit. That’s a lot of folks who are paying too much in interest, late fees, and other penalties. If that’s you, take heart, because you can turn that around. You can pull yourself up from subprime to average and then onto excellence.

So many people had stellar credit until a disaster struck — something beyond their control that was not their fault. A subprime score can happen to anyone, including the responsible people, the hardworking people, and the wealthy. If your credit is subprime right now, you’re not alone! Your credit score is your PAST, not your future. You can change your future credit status.


34% of credit reports contain errors. That is unacceptable!

The most common error is with personal identifiers: names misspelled, a wrong name on the report, a wrong address on the report. If you are working on improving your credit status, start with fixing your personal identifiers. That is what the top pros do. Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, because it is the best way.

Anything on your credit report that is erroneous, out-of-date, incomplete, or unverifiable is unacceptable, and you are allowed to challenge it. You have the right to a credit report that is 100% true and correct.

If you have a question about how the credit scoring system works, please post in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer. (Don’t post your personal information on this public blog, for obvious reasons.)

Credit Repair Statistics You Need

The credit bureaus are infamous for stalling on requests to update and correct information. They like to whip out a form rejection letter that contains no details about your personal account. It’s frustrating but it happens a lot.

What if there was a way to get a favorable response to your first letter, so you didn’t have to go “round two” and “round three”? Well, there is!

Thanks to one savvy credit repair pro*, I have statistics to share with you.

If you include copies of your ID with your request/dispute letter, your chances of being rejected go down. How many pieces of ID should you send?

The more, the better!

Here are the stats:

  • If you send 2 forms of ID, you will have almost 24% rejection rate.
  • If you send 3 forms of ID, the rejection rates drops to 14%.
  • 4 forms of ID, down to 8%.
  • 5 forms of ID, down to 2%.
  • ALL PIECES OF ID MUST HAVE EXACT NAME AND ADDRESSES! If something doesn’t match, don’t send it.

* These statistics are according to professional credit repair business owner Mr. Neal Yeagley.

Acceptable forms of ID are the following:
1) Driver’s license or state issued ID
2) W2 (may black out first 5 digits of your social security number)
3) Paystubs, can send two or three
3) Passport (to show photo of who you are)
4) Electric or gas bill
5) Cell phone or cable bill
6) Rent agreement or mortgage statement
7) Voided personal check with account number blacked out
8) Bank statement, first page to show name and address with account number blacked out
9) Voter registration card

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by sending a piece of ID with your name spelled differently or an address that doesn’t match perfectly! Triple-check!!!

Remember, you have the right to a credit report that is updated, true, correct, and verifiable.

How to Handle a Judgment

When an account goes unpaid, some creditors will file a judgment against you.

A judgment means a judge in a court of law has given the creditor permission to file a financial claim against you — hence the name “judgment.”

Sometimes a creditor will then pursue getting their money by taking it straight out of your paycheck, which is called garnishing your wages. It’s not fun to discover your paycheck is not what it should be, due to a garnishment!

Other times, a creditor will pursue taking the money out of your bank account. That discovery is equally disturbing!

Laws vary from state to state, and I am not an attorney, nor do I give legal advice. But here is how I would handle a judgment, if I discovered one against me.

First, I would look to make sure it belonged to me and not to someone with a similar name. If it’s my account, then I would make sure the balance owing is correct. For example, if I know I failed to pay a former landlord for two months’ rent and the amount makes sense, then I’d take responsibility. But if two months’ rent was $3,000 and the judgment was for $10,000, then something is wrong and needs an investigation.

Second, if the amount was small, such as less than a couple hundred dollars, I’d just pay it and put it behind me. But if the amount was significant or if I truly couldn’t afford to pay it, then I would negotiate a settlement to pay less, as per Chapters 15-16 in Repair Your Credit Like the Pros.

When asking for a settlement, sometimes you need to provide proof of income to show you truly cannot afford to pay the large account. Other creditors will offer a settlement right away without it. Law firms are more sticklers for documentation, as you might expect.

Get the settlement agreement in writing. No offer letter = no money. You must get it in writing. Verbal promises mean nothing. One of my book readers paid per settlement agreement, and a year later, another rep at the same creditor contacted him for the rest of the money. It’s a good thing he had the original agreement in writing! That shut down the new rep from pursuing a request for more money.

Don’t worry about the settlement stating “paid as agreed” or “pay to delete,” because judgments do not appear on your credit report now in 2023. Therefore, a judgment does not hurt your credit score.

The only public record that posts on credit reports now is a bankruptcy.

Just because the judgment is not on your credit report, that does not mean you don’t have to pay it. They can still pursue a garnishment against you. And a judgment will need to be paid before you can close on a home loan.

This is my opinion as someone who has worked in the mortgage business for 23 years and who worked for one of the nation’s top credit repair companies (in the past, before the owner died during Covid). This is not legal advice. For legal advice, consult with a local attorney who knows the laws in your state.

Paperback and Kindle

Insider News: Credit score trends and forecasts

If you’re interested in how your credit score might be going up or down in the coming months, then this is for you.

I have several news items to share. This comes from two top employees of VantageScore. The information was prepared — not for consumers or even credit repair businesses — but for lenders! It’s a warning to lenders on what’s happening and what’s to come. But, it’s fascinating for the rest of us, too!

Here we go!

1 Right now, more people are going late on their accounts. The warning was for lenders to be on the watch so they could adjust interest rates accordingly. This tells you that if you pay one day late on a credit card, expect all the other credit card companies to notice and raise your interest rate.

2 More people are accruing late payments because during the pandemic (a) they received forbearance so the creditors didn’t report them as late — as long as they began paying on time again after, and (b) with everything shut down, there wasn’t as much to spend money on. No movies, concerts, restaurants, sporting events, etc. More people saved money and/or paid down their balances during that time.
Now, inflation has hit, insurance rates have risen, and all payments are due — not to mention more things are available to spend money on.

3 Due to #2 above, credit scores in the United States went up in 2020 – 2021. Now with new late payments, the trend is downward for scores.

4 The Supreme Court struck down the Biden Administration’s plan to forgive over $1 trillion in student loan debt. Therefore, student loans that were on hold will restart with payments required October 31st.

5 If a person fails to pay their student loan this fall when it’s due, VantageScore is forecasting a drop in the person’s credit score of 49 to 82 points. Wow, that’s a serious penalty you don’t want, so get prepared now.

6 If a person pays their student loan bill on time, the first months, VantageScore is forecasting an increase of 8 points in their score. It might not sound like a lot, but going from 695 to 700+ puts you into a higher tier for credit approval and pricing. Plus, what can you expect for doing something you are contractually obligated to do anyway — pay as agreed?

VantageScores are used by many credit card companies and lenders now; but the mortgage lenders are still in line for converting from using Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion into using VantageScore plus one of the other three. It’s on the calendar for mortgage lenders to go from a tri-merge report to a bi-merge report, but the date is still fluid.

Feel free to post a comment on this topic, and thank you for reading.

Before You File a Complaint with the CFPB, Read This!

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an agency of the United States government. It was set up to protect all of us regular people from financial scams, fraud, over-charges, bogus charges, false financial reporting, etc.

The CFPB is a powerful agency. When it goes after a finance company, mortgage lender, bank, or credit company, the end result can be a fine of millions of dollars, a lawsuit, or even getting shut down. This is not fun for the guilty party.

If you have been a victim of a financial scam, fraud, bank injustice (such as when Wells Fargo opened new accounts in people’s names without their knowledge or consent), or if one of the credit bureaus refuses to delete false information that is damaging your credit profile, then yes, you should file a complaint.

However, if there is a negative mark on your credit report, a late payment, a collection, or other derogatory, and it really did happen, then you must not file a complaint with the CFPB.

Never lie to a government agency!

Never attempt to throw a business under the bus because you don’t like that they are reporting you late, when you were actually late. That is fraud on your part and can get you in trouble.

Some unscrupulous so-called credit repair businesses have filed CFPB complaints as a so-called strategy to remove negative information. THAT IS FRAUD. There are cases where the credit repair business owner was handcuffed and booked into jail for doing this!

You cannot file a complaint as a bluff. Only file a complaint if what you are saying is 100% true.

If are are a victim, then DO file a complaint, and write with specific details, including dates, dollar amounts, and how you attempted to make it right with the company.

If you have a question about this, feel free to post a reply. The system requires me to read and approve in order to keep out all the spam bots, but I do read every one and I will reply.

Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate you.

Can You Spot the Bad Fees?

This is part of an actual mortgage estimate worksheet created by a company that advertises, “We are a leading independent mortgage lender.”

Let’s look at it, then I’ll point out the issues I see. This is for a $450,000 30-year fixed mortgage.

Origination Fee: Wow, that is ridiculously high. The national banks and wholesale lenders charge $999 to $1,300. That alone is a stopper for me.

Underwriting: $995. That is the normal origination Fee.

Settlement: That is the third party fee that goes to the settlement agent, either the attorney or escrow agent. It is paid 50/50 by Buyer and Seller. The Buyer’s fee is missing. (No, the Seller is not paying both sides.)

Lenders Title Insurance: Round number that’s unrealistically low.

Investor Review Fee: A non-standard, odd extra fee that neither banks nor mortgage brokers charge.

Funding Fee: Funding is part of the lender’s origination/underwriting work. Added non-standard junk fee to pad profits.

Pre-close Credit Report: The Borrower already paid $37 for the credit report. They should not be charged a second time for a second credit look. That is part of the underwriting process. Very odd to see a lender slip in another fee for this task.

Conclusion: This loan is too expensive, contains bogus junk fees, and is sloppy without a specific title fee quoted from an actual title company. I recommend finding a better lender.

7 Suspicious Credit Repair Warnings

Experian receives anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 pieces of mail every day, but only employs 10-14 sorters to review the mail for suspicious characteristics and letters ARE NOT reinvestigated without further action taken by the consumer requesting or demanding a reinvestigation.

In plain English, if a mail sorter at the credit bureau sees any of the following things, they mark it as “suspicious” and will likely deny your request.

This warning is to tell their mail sorters how to tell if the letter is from a credit repair businesses rather than the actual consumer.


1) A return address on the letter itself is different from the return address on the envelope.

    2) A stack of envelopes come in where the postmark is in the same city but the return addresses are in different cities.

    3) Letters with a similar letter format (looks like a template used for a batch of letters).

    4) Signature found on an enclosed document differs from the signature on the letter.

    5) Data on the enclosed document does not appear logical.

    6) When five or more letters from different consumers are in a batch of mail containing the same listed characteristics, the sorter can reasonably conclude that they not have been mailed by the consumer and can mark them suspicious.

    7) When a batch of letters come in together that are similar in type, size, ink color, or font.

    If you are doing your own credit repair, you already have an advantage, because your lone envelope and letter won’t come in with a batch. But pay attention to #4, #5 because you could get flagged for those.

    And, look at #3. You don’t want your letter to look like a “609 template letter,” or any template letter. That’s why I recommend customizing your letters just a little, but without going overboard in saying too much. Keep is simple, straight-forward, and compliant with the law.

    Many thanks to Kate Upgrading, founder of No Bar Code Printing & Mailing, Ltd. for sharing this insider information.