Stephanie Stricklen

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~ I didn't do it!! ~

by Stephanie Stricklen

Posted on October 7, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:42 PM

Try telling that to the credit reporting companies that are responsible for generating your credit score.

I was working on a non-health related story today for November and the banker I interviewed recommended everyone check their credit report. Everyone.

Now, since I have really good credit and a high credit score, I've never bothered to check. But, since I wanted to include his suggestion in my story I figured I better put myself through the process first. Good thing!!

Front and center on one of the reports was a red flag.. a collections agency that said I was delinquent (or more specifically my spouse) on an account. From 2005.

The fast backstory is that it wasn't me. OR my husband. OR my father-in-law who shares the same name. We all got served papers in 2005 and had to go through the tedious process of proving they had the wrong family.

We got all kinds of official looking documentation from the people at the collections agency saying they agreed-- they did NOT have the right family-- and more importantly that they would contact the credit reporting companies to ensure this would not end up on our credit report.

Well, here we go again. The collections agency folks says they DID follow through on their end of the bargain, they have no idea why it ended up on my credit report, and that it's up to me to dispute it directly with the credit reporting agency (in this case Experian). I submitted my request to Experian through an automated voicemail system and now have to wait until the end of November to find out what investigators decide. WHAT A PAIN!

The good news is the people at the collections agency says they will explain it to Experian when investigators call.

Cross your fingers for me.

In the meantime, let me be the first to urge you to take that banker's advice. Check your credit report with all three companies. Even if you have awesome credit. It's free, and you can do it online.

Here's a link that explains how to do it:

You'll need to know some of the specifics about your current mortgage, etc. for security questions. You'll also get asked repeatedly if you want all kind of add-ons for a fee. Just click no. You don't have to buy anything to get your free credit report.

And one last thing: these reports do not give you your credit score. Just the report. But that's all you need to learn if there is a mistake. Good luck!

Ps. Mary Ann: I start my new show in mid-November!! 7pm. Look for me if you're around to watch!!!