As many as 42,000,000 Americans have errors in their credit reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Twenty million could have mistakes that could impact their credit score.
Those mistakes could be difficult to fix.
A "60 Minutes" report showed that of the 8,000,000 disputes over credit report errors filed every year, very few are actually resolved. In some cases, the report says it took up to six years to fix the problem.
"Same name or similar social security numbers, but it could be just something that is very bizarre," CBS News Analyst Mellody Hobson said.
The report says what you get from your credit report may not be what the banks see, but that's illegal. The consumer data industry responded by saying 98 percent of credit reports are accurate.
"Yes you can fix your credit reports," GRD and Associates Credit Counselor Cerrick Anderson said. "Always mail off your disputes because you want to make sure the disputes get to human hands. The credit bureaus are almost completely automated right now. Your best bet is to have somebody look at your dispute and actually do a thorough investigation."
One resource that allows you to check your annual credit score for free is annualcreditreport.com. You are legally entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus.
Watch out for singing commercials about free credit reports, experts say they'll find a way to charge you.
If you find an error in your credit report, there are some steps you'll need to follow. Visit the FTC's website for more information.
Resource: FTC Guidelines For Disputing Your Credit Report