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A Federal Trade Commission study of the U.S. credit reporting industry found that five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three major credit reports that could lead to them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance. Overall, the congressionally mandated study on credit report accuracy found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.
 
“These are eye-opening numbers for American consumers,” said Howard Shelanski, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics.  “The results of this first-of-its-kind study make it clear that consumers should check their credit reports regularly.  If they don’t, they are potentially putting their pocketbooks at risk.”
 
The study also found that:
 
•  One in four consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores;
•  One in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (CRA) after it was disputed, on at least one of their three credit reports;
•  Four out of five consumers who filed disputes experienced some modification to their credit report;   
•  Slightly more than one in 10 consumers saw a change in their credit score after the CRAs modified errors on their credit report; and
•  Approximately one in 20 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points and only one in 250 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 100 points.      
    
“Your credit report has information about your finances and your bill-paying history, so it’s important to make sure it’s accurate,” said Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “The good news for consumers is that credit reports are free through www.annualcreditreport.com, and if you find an error, you can work with the credit reporting company to fix it.”
 
Information for Consumers
The FTC has a wide range of general information for consumers on credit reporting issues, including Free Credit Reports, Disputing Errors on Credit Reports, and Your Source for a Truly Free Credit Report? www.annualcreditreport.com, as well as a new consumer blog posted titled It Pays to Check Your Credit Report.
 
It also has information available on how credit scores affect the price of credit and insurance andwhat consumers need to know about their credit reports when looking for a job.  Finally, the FTC has a video for consumers on how to get a free credit report.
 
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

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