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  1. You nailed it. That is an issue here. I have a few different strategies that work very effectively and I share them. And a few regulars always seem ready to go to war with me over it. Heck, I don't even share my most aggressive tactics here because it would freak out the regulars. I am in my tame credit mode with most of the advice I provide to newbies here.
  2. Pam, I get it. You are an admin here and post a great number of times here. I can confirm for you that post count and ownership of a domain name do not always correlate to expertise on a subject. I read some of the stuff here and I can assure you that many of you have enough knowledge to be dangerous. If you feel like banning me for disagreeing with you sometimes on the best way to handle credit issues for people posting here, that is fine. It would be sort of a juvenile response and an abuse of the admin tools. But it is your website. If you want to ban the people who volunteer to answer questions for newbies, that is your business. It seems like a lousy admin policy though. It seems like activity levels have already declined from what I remember. If you want to keep gradually banning your contributors, so be it. I like talking credit. I hope you are not into abusing the admin tools for silly reasons like that. Much of the content here is fairly good, but some of the frequent contributors here are often wrong and dogmatic about certain topics. One example is the likelihood of getting sued over minor credit debts. The predominant comments here, from the people with large post counts, that debtors are likely to be sued over old debts is just VASTLY out of proportion to reality. The way some people scare monger over lawsuit risk is just beyond silly here. They are the exception, not the rule and the legal statistics clearly support that. But to read on this website you would think that most defaults result in lawsuits. It is just flat out wrong. If you want to ban me for disagreeing with you. That is fine. I can tell that the level of activity on this website has declined a great deal compared to a few years ago. Perhaps many are finding other forums such as MyFico or others. If banning people who annoy you or disagree with you is your policy, so be it. And my opinion that the free credit report websites are fine for most people should not be that controversial. I am sort of surprised that you guys are that offended by it and willing to ban someone that has a different opinion over such a minor issue. I have not used any profanity here. I merely disagree with some amateur opinions that I see here sometimes. I am not shy about typing that out. So have at it. If I have reached your annoyance maximum level. This will be my final post. If you are willing to tolerate having someone who is a regular contributor and gives mostly the same advice as others here, then I will continue. But the simple fact is, I have some different opinions than some of your regulars. And I share my opinions without using profanity and I try to be helpful to newbies figuring out their credit. I enjoy this credit subject. But I am not going to walk on eggshells around here out of concern that the ban hammer is going to be abused by admins. Hopefully you agree. But if not, so be it. Thanks
  3. No problem. Excel is your friend. Staying organized in this process is critical, especially with 6 credit bureaus out there now that you need to sort of keep an eye on. The big 3 get all of the attention, but Innovis, Sagestream and ChexSystems are also regularly checked by your banks and creditors.
  4. Yeah, I know it hurts. You will get over it.
  5. Using 3rd party free sources is perfectly fine for getting started on disputes. RocketGoBoom is right. You're not, but your opinion is also duly noted. 🙂 What I find cute about the attitudes of the people on this website is that you all have this group think that there is only one way to do things. Example, "get paper reports". That is silly. The online reports provide enough info to prepare any written disputes. The 3rd party providers of data provide enough info 99% of the time. Only a very hyper detailed dispute, which will likely be misread/ignored by the minimum wage Equifax clerk reading it, would need everything provided in the paper version. 95% of the people filing disputes with credit bureaus don't even have the functional capacity to read the key explaining what everything on the Equifax paper report even means. Have you read the questions from beginners on MyFico or CB.com? Come on, most of them are utterly clueless and lack the capacity to write a dispute more detailed than, "Not Mine, please investigate". The data pulled by the 3rd party sites is coming directly from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. It is the same data and free and packaged more user friendly for people to read. Experian does a better job of presenting Equifax and TransUnion data than the actual owners of the data. That is very important for someone just starting out on fixing their credit issues. That is why third parties like CreditKarma, CreditSesame, WalletHub and others are finding a market. They are taking the same data and making it more user friendly to consume with nice graphs, easy navigation around, basic suggestions, etc. Yes, someone who has 2,000+ posts on CreditBoards.com might find it all worthless. But 99.9% of the population does not have your detailed level of credit report knowledge. 95% of the USA population probably cannot even read the Equifax paper report effectively. It is a disaster and probably intentionally designed to be a disaster and confusing in order to reduce written disputes.
  6. You need to make this a project and become diligent about it. It won't happen on accident. I would suggest starting an Excel spreadsheet to track your efforts. Just make it a point each weekend to update your spreadsheet and generate new written (forget online) disputes to renew your attacks on everything. Based on whatever updates happen that week, start a new round of disputes. Rinse, repeat. Those do help long term. Just keep them active. Use them each for at least one transaction charge every 6 months. They will start really helping you once they are 1-2 years old. It they remain inactive then they are stale on your file and help less. If they remain inactive they will be closed eventually and no longer help as much. Do NOT send your discharge papers to the credit bureaus. Dispute all of the negative tradelines in writing with all of the credit bureaus. (6 of them, don't forget Innovis, SageStream and ChexSystems) If they respond that they were verified, then reply back to the credit bureaus and demand the MOV. If they respond that they already verified and deemed your new dispute frivolous and they won't re-investigate, then dispute again and threaten to sue them for violation of the FCRA and declare that it is NOT frivolous and that THIS dispute is new and includes fresh information. The clerk reading your dispute is a minimum wage person, to it can be hit or miss on re-investigations. Just keep doing it again and again, eventually you will get it restarted. Wells Fargo has a secured credit card. https://www.wellsfargo.com/credit-cards/secured/ There are others, Google for them. Get at least 3 of them going to build 3 positive tradelines. I think that is the FICO minimum for an ideal score. After 12 months of history and 6-12 months of credit cleanup, you will have a solid FICO score. To get the lates removed, while still keeping the accounts overall, is a tough needle to thread. I had that issue with an old Bank of America auto loan with one 30 day late. I wanted the late gone, but also keep the auto loan which was already paid off and closed. TU and EX were clean, but EQ had the late. I got it done, but it took a strategy that I doubt you have the org skills to handle right now. I basically filed for arbitration and the Equifax legal department called me and it was taken care of. Don't worry about inquiries. That is the least of your worries and they will all not hurt any more after 12 months. Sign up for the free credit report services. They are well worth it to start updates on data in your files. CreditKarma CreditSesame Wallethub Experian Creditworks (Basic, not Premium) Those are the free services that I use. To increase your scores you just have to attack the bankruptcies and the lates. Analyze the open accounts with lates and determine if you really need them on your credit files. You might consider just having them deleted also. After the lates are 7 years old, you can call those creditors and request a new account number because you lost your card. You will keep the history and the account will then likely re-appear on your files because of the newly issue account number. Or you can even work with the credit bureaus to remove the filtering that had removed that account. I have pulled that off before in order to get an account to re-appear that was missing from 1 of the 3 credit bureaus. You don't need to wait on anything. All of the stuff included in bankruptcy is safe from any lawsuits being filed against you. You can attack all of this stuff right away. Good luck.
  7. We will have to agree to disagree. The OP stated he was having trouble getting an Equifax report. Using a 3rd party to get the Equifax data to get started is a viable alternative in his situation, as I stated above. In response to any dispute filed based on the 3rd party report, the OP will eventually receive a paper copy from Equifax so it is all moot. The 3rd party data provides plenty of accurate info for anyone to get started.
  8. And all of that is information overload for most first timers. The Equifax paper reports are very poorly organized and it is likely intentionally done that way by Equifax to try to reduce consumer interest in filing disputes. Whereas the Experian paper reports places all negative items in the front section and clearly marks (in red if I recall) those items as negatives to be addressed. Equifax instead mixes everything together requiring someone to go line by line looking for anything that is negative. And you have to look for the key code of R1-R9 (example) to figure out if it is negative or not. For the first time user the Equifax paper reports seem to be intentionally designed to frustrate and overwhelm the consumer to the point that they will give up and just not do anything. There is a difference between a CPA doing your taxes and doing it yourself with TurboTax. The same concepts apply to credit reports and the ability of the consumer to even use or digest some of this information. As an example, Experian and CreditKarma provide the Equifax data in a much more easy to digest format. And for probably 99% of consumers, the data provided is more than sufficient to start addressing any issues. The consumer will receive a paper report automatically in response to any disputes they make.
  9. You can safely request your free credit file from the credit bureaus in writing. Don't worry about it. CreditKarma.com also has Equifax data along with TransUnion data for free. Check to see if you can pass their authentication questions.
  10. I have seen those alerts also, but the account is always still there. That is basically meaningless. The data is still there and accurate for the purpose of filing a dispute. I have been following all of the most popular free services for a long time now. CreditKarma, Credit Sesame, Wallethub, Experian Creditworks for all 3 reports, and a few others. The bottom line is that the data is all pulled from the same source databases at Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. The only difference is the presentation layer. In fact, I would say that Credit Karma and Experian do a MUCH better job of presenting Equifax data than Equifax paper reports. The paper reports from Equifax are a total disaster for beginners to read and understand. They are not user friendly at all. I would much rather see the Equifax data presented in an easy to read format as presented by Experian or Credit Karma. It is the same data pulled from the same database that Equifax uses to produce their lousy paper reports. But the other services make it easy to read and understand.
  11. If we were talking about something likely to end up in court, then I would agree with you. Total exactness is a good idea and establishing you received the report from the target of your lawsuit is important. However 99.9% of people disputing stuff will never be ending up in court. If the limit of their dispute is just going after it from the standpoint of "not mine" or "I was never late" then the data from reliable sources such as Credit Karma or Wallethub is solid. I have yet to see any difference in terms of balances, accounts, reported late payments, etc. The data is exactly the same because it is coming from the same source credit bureau. The only difference is the formatting and presentation layer of the data. For the basics of writing a dispute letter, the OP can use the free Equifax data provided by Credit Karma.
  12. Probably not after so long. Most collection agencies resist pay for delete. I think it is mostly a waste of time. And I would not believe them if they promised to delete after you pay. You would need to get it in writing and I doubt they will put it in writing beforehand. Old collection are relatively easy to get deleted. Just focus directly on the credit bureaus and go for deletion.
  13. Nobody needs to actually pay for a report. If you are writing a letter to Equifax (or any credit bureau) just state that you want your annual free copy. Or state that you are the recipient of public welfare assistance and you get an unlimited number of free copies of your credit reports. Everyone in the USA qualifies ... because we all receive some form of public welfare assistance. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/how-do-i-get-a-copy-of-my-credit-reports-en-5/ You can get additional free reports if any of the following apply to you: You received a notice that you were denied credit, insurance, or employment or experienced another “adverse action” based on a credit report, you have a right to a free report from the credit reporting company identified in the notice. To get the free report you must request it within 60 days after you receive the notice. Other types of “adverse action” notices you might receive include notice of an unfavorable change in the terms or amount of your credit or insurance coverage, or unfavorable changes in the terms of your employment or of a license or other government benefit. You believe your file is inaccurate due to fraud. You have requested a credit report from a nationwide credit reporting company in connection with the placing of an initial fraud alert (you may request two free copies for an extended fraud alert). You are unemployed and intend to apply for employment within 60 days from the date of your request. You are a recipient of public welfare assistance. Your state law provides for a free credit report.
  14. Why exactly does someone need the paper report? I have found the data from online to be accurate. Even the online data from Equifax when it is provided by a 3rd party such as Credit Karma or Experian, it is still the same. The only thing extra that the paper report provides is the soft inquiries. Otherwise, at least in my experience, the online data is accurate when provided by a 3rd party.
  15. Another cool feature on Experian Creditworks when you do the Premium upgrade for 7 days ($1 or $0) is that you get all of the FICO scores. This is only available during the Premium upgrade, then you lose it when you downgrade back to Basic. FICO 8 FICO Score 2 (Mortgage) FICO Auto Score 2 FICO Auto Score 8 FICO Bankcard Score 2 FICO Score 3 FICO Bankcard Score 8

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Since 2003, creditboards.com has helped thousands of people repair their credit, force abusive collection agents to follow the law, ensure proper reporting by credit reporting agencies, and provided financial education to help avoid the pitfalls that can lead to negative tradelines.
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