How to Defend Your Credit Score and Future

Check in periodically, and call a lawyer if something seems fishy

By Benjy Schirm, J.D. | Last updated on April 21, 2022

It’s advertised in nearly every credit card commercial: a free credit report. But what does your credit score mean, and what can you do it protect it?

A credit score is a number that shows the likelihood that any person is to repay a debt. This number or score is based on all reported credit interactions, whether one paid debts on time, and how many outstanding debts they have. Banks and lenders will look up this score to determine whether they should lend someone money or open credit lines. There are various organizations that compute your credit score, and each of these agencies may have different score outcomes. 

If something fishy is going on with your credit report, you may want to reach out to an attorney. “We make sure everything that is going on our client’s credit report is accurate. We make sure that, if you have disputed a claim, it shows as disputed. We fight people impermissibly pulling people’s credit,” says Alexander Taylor, a consumer law attorney.

Some of the trouble with a credit score is that you must seek it out. It isn’t often sent or mailed to you and since there are three or more them, they can be difficult to find.

“Make sure you’re on top of your credit reports,” says Taylor. “There are very large corporations that are in litigation over impermissibly pulling consumers’ credit reports.” 

The other difficulty is that your credit score is not policed by anyone but you. So, if you don’t act, your score may be affected and won’t be fixed until you do something. “Some collectors will place a debt two or three times on your report, which, if you don’t dispute this and make sure that the credit reporting agency takes it down, it could affect your ability to own a house or car,” says Taylor. To ‘be on top of your credit’ check on your score periodically through one of the many free means available online.

Consumers who are having trouble with their credit report or debt collectors need not worry about the cost of an attorney. “No money comes out of a consumer’s pocket in these cases,” says Taylor. They work entirely on contingency fees collected after the close of their services.

Practically speaking, Taylor says, “If something is wrong on your credit report, dispute it; and, if after the dispute there is still an error, call a creditor debtor rights attorney.” 

For more information on this area of law, see our overview of consumer law.

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