THE CONSUMER CAUTION CORNER
To file a consumer complaint, pick up a form at the OAG or request one by email from email@example.com. After completing the consumer complaint, submit it by email or in-person.
This week, the Office of the Attorney General’s “Consumer Caution Corner” provides step-by-step instructions on how to request and review your credit history, and how to dispute an error.
Your credit history is important. It tells businesses how you pay your bills. Those businesses then decide if they want to give you a credit card, a job, an apartment, a loan, or insurance. Find out what is in your report. Be sure the information is correct. Fix anything that is incorrect.
How do I check my credit report?
This is easy to do by phone:
• Call Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8228.
• Answer questions from a recorded system. You have to give your address, Social Security number, and birth date.
• Choose to ONLY show the last four numbers of your Social Security number. It is safer than showing your full Social Security number on your report.
• Choose which credit reporting company you want a report from. (You get one free report from each company every year.)
That company mails your report to you. It should arrive about a month after.
What do I do with my credit report?
Read it carefully. Make sure the information is correct.
• Personal information—Are the name and address correct?
• Accounts—Do you recognize them? Is the information correct?
• Negative information—Do you recognize the accounts in this section of the report? Is the information correct?
• Inquiries—Do you recognize the places you applied for credit? (If you do not, someone may have stolen your identity. You should report this right away.)
The report will tell you how to improve your credit history. Only you can improve your credit history. It will take time. But if any of the information in your report is wrong, you can ask to have it fixed.
How do I fix mistakes in my credit report?
• Write a letter. Tell the credit reporting company that you have questions about information in your report.
• Explain which information is wrong and why you think so.
• Say that you want the information corrected or removed from your report.
• Send a copy of your credit report with the wrong information circled.
• Send copies of other papers that help you explain your opinion.
• Send this information via certified mail. Ask the post office for a return receipt. The receipt is proof that the credit reporting company received your letter.
The credit reporting company must look into your complaint and answer you in writing.
Each week, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Education Program aims to provide consumers and businesses with the “know-how” to identify and protect themselves from unfair trade practices and marketplace schemes. If you would like to file a consumer complaint, please pick up a form at the OAG (on Capital Hill) or request one by email from firstname.lastname@example.org. After completing the consumer complaint, please submit it by email or in-person.
We cannot act as your private attorney. If you need legal assistance, we will recommend that you contact a private attorney or legal aid organization. We cannot give legal advice or act as your private attorney. (Michale J. Cyganek, Special to the Saipan Tribune)