In April, comedian John Oliver shed light on the credit reporting industry’s hypocrisy and the dangerous ways credit reporting agencies (like Equifax, Experian and Transunion) control society and separate consumers from their goals. Oliver’s segment is a bit colorful but it is an interesting way to learn a little more about your very impactful credit report and the credit reporting industry.
Because the reporting industry is blindly and widely trusted yet tragically under-regulated, Oliver called for much-needed accountability for errors in reporting personal credit information.
As Oliver pointed out, errors on your credit report could mean:
- a criminal record;
- being labeled a terrorist;
- being branded a sex offender;
- no job [note that in New York, employers may not use your credit report to deny you employment];
- no car;
- no apartment;
- no house;
- higher interest rates;
- higher premiums; and
- no financing.
Apparently, mistakes on your credit could even be a matter of life and death. As shown in Oliver’s segment, a Texas woman, Helen McGill, encountered difficulty when she was erroneously reported as deceased by credit agencies.
According to a broadcast news clip featured in the segment:
“the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that nearly one-third of all credit reports contained serious error”.
Stay on top of your credit information. You can get your credit report from all 3 agencies for free. To get your credit report online instantly, visit: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. To request your credit report by mail, use the form found at: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/manualRequestForm.action.
Learn more about your rights here.