Inquiries from potential creditors can damage your credit score and harm your chance of getting new credit. Some institutions consider inquiries a sign that you have too much debt and need more credit. Not all inquiries on your credit report are valid or legal. You should know the steps necessary to remove a credit inquiry from your report.
Knowing What Inquiries Can Be Disputed
You might see two types of inquiries on your credit report. These are soft and hard inquiries. Soft inquiries are from your existing creditors. These inquiries do not harm your credit. They are not shown to new potential creditors. Hard inquiries do negatively affect your credit. Hard inquiries occur when you apply for a new credit card or a loan. You need to authorize hard inquiries. If you see a hard inquiry on your credit report you did not authorize, then you can dispute it and get it removed.
Find the Names and Addresses of the Companies Making Inquiries
Order your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. The inquiries on your account will be listed near the end of the report. Identify inquiries that you did not authorize or that you do not recognize. Find the addresses for each creditor that made an inquiry.
Contact the Credit Reporting Agency First
Start by going to
the individual credit reporting agency websites and reporting fraud. You can do this through a letter in the mail as well. You want to do this to potentially prevent your target companies from attempting to make additional unauthorized hard inquiries while you dispute previous ones. This also informs the reporting agency that you will be disputing the inquiries.
Write Letters to the Creditors
The next step is to write letters to all the creditors attached to the unauthorized inquiries. The letter should be printed. It should state that you did not authorize the inquiry and that you want it removed from your credit report. Provide contact information and request proof of your authorization if the creditor believes you are wrong. Make copies of the letters for yourself and mail them to the creditors immediately. Acting quickly will increase the chance of getting the inquiries removed.
Respond To Disputes
Some creditors might dispute your claim that the inquiries were unauthorized. If you get evidence back that is clearly misleading or deceptive, then you can often start a complaint with your local banking commission. You can do the same if the creditors fail to respond to you at all. Persistence is important when trying to correct your credit report. You might need to escalate the situation to regulatory or investigative agencies depending on the response you get.