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A bad credit report can cause *serious* issues for

people hoping to rent an apartment.

get a job.

or apply for a loan.

A study done by the Federal Trade Commission found.

*25-percent* of consumers had an error on their credit

report that might affect their credit score.

Tonight.

News 8 Investigates how to fix Credit Report Mistakes.

Lisa Klein is here with the story.

Martha and Mike.

the Federal Trade Commission study was eye-opening

for the director of the F-T-Cs Bureau of Economics.

The director says this study makes it clear that consumers

should check their reports regularly...

If they dont.

they are potentially putting their pocketbooks at

risk.

Tonight.

well look deeper into what to do once youve found

a mistake.

Nats...

Lisa.

Life was normal for this busy Onalaska mother of two...

Nats.

:31.

All there is is karati and work schedules up here...

Lisa.

Until 25-year-old Brittany Tostrud started to notice

something abnormal.

Brittany.

:17.

I was filing my taxes this year and it popped up with

an email address that didnt belong to me.

Lisa.

Brittany found another mistake after checking her

credit report.

Brittany.

:27.

I saw a Comcast bill on there.

Well.

Ive never lived anywhere where theres a Comcast.

So, it started really to not add up.

Lisa.

While this young mom admits she expected her credit

report would show a few bills she knew she hadnt

paid on time.

She didnt expect to see incorrect information start

to stack up.

Nats.

:19.

place clothes on pile

Brittany.

:35.

Then it showed an Illinois address on my credit report

and Ive never lived in Illinios.

So that kind of was a red flag right there that something

wasnt right.

Jackie.

:59.

It happens quite frequently.

Lisa.

Collection manager and loan officer Jackie Mahlum-Paul

at G-E-C-U in La Crosse says she *has* worked with

people who have found errors in their credit reports.

and the consequences can be serious.

Jackie.

:06.

It will always be a negative impact if there is an

error.

The degree of negativity is determined by what kind

of an error it might be.

GPHX Lisa.

A 2012 Federal Trade Commission study of the US

Credit reporting industry found one in four consumers

identified errors on their credit reports that might

affect their *credit scores.* Local law enforcement

says if you find an error act fast.

Chad.

:58.

If theres debts.

If theres creditors that you just dont have any

idea why theyre there, you need to contact us and

file that police report because most creditors are

going to want a police report before they even start

looking into it.

Lisa.

To file a police report and start the process to determine

if the mistake is a credit reporting error or identity

theft.

investigator Marcon says people should bring in proof.

Chad.

:41.

Whatever documents youve got.

that creditor that you dont believe is true, bring

in, and we will add that to the police report and

pretty much take it from there.

Lisa.

Once the police report is filed, the Federal Trade

Commission website says there are two steps that need

to be taken to correct the mistake.

First.

a person should write to the credit reporting company

stating the inaccuracies and include copies of documents

that support the claim.

The second step is to write to the company or organization

that reported you to a credit company.

and state that you dispute an item in your credit

report.

Nats.

:40.

cutting apple

Lisa.

These steps are exactly what Brittany needs to take

to have the misinformation removed from her credit

report.

Brittany.

:44.

Its just weird to see this address in Illiniois keep

popping up under my name.

Lisa.

And she knows the importance of fixing the problem.

Brittany.

:07.

All I know is I want to figure out how to get it taken

care of and get it off my credit, becuase eventually

it probably will start to hurt it especially if people

are opening up Comcast things or whatever else under

my name and not paying them.

or just wracking up bills.

I dont want that to keep showing up on my credit.

Nats...

Lisa.

In Onalaska, LK, N8,

Once you report an error to one of the big three credit

reporting agencies.

Trans Union, Equifax or Experion.

the credit reporting company usually investigates

the claim within 30 days.

If you need help writing a dispute letter.

I have links to sample letters on our website.

news 8000 dot com.

?How do you know if there is bad information on your

credit report?

Both the Loan Officer and the Onalaska Investigator

say its important to check your credit reports for

mistakes.

The Loan Officer says its a good idea to pull a credit

report every four months to check your credit.

Federal law allows people to get a free copy from

each of the three major credit reporting agencies

once a year.

You can also find out how to order a free report by

going to news 8000 dot com.