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Applicant Questions:

Do you have contact numbers for the bureaus where I can actually speak to a live representative?
In order for you to speak to a live representative, all 3 credit bureaus, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian require that you obtain a copy of your credit file first. When you receive your bureau direct file, you will be provided with a bureau file number and a phone number to call. All 3 bureaus can be accessed online at, or by calling the following numbers:

Trans Union 800-916-8800

Experian 888-397-3742

Equifax 800-685-1111

How do I place a fraud alert on my report?
Contact the bureau fraud departments: TU 800-680-7289, Equifax 800-525-6285, Experian 888-397-3742. It is only necessary to contact one bureau. The bureau you contacted should contact the other two bureaus with the information.

I believe that I am a victim of identity theft. What do I do?
Contact the bureau fraud departments to add a fraud alert to your credit file. (see answer above)

Contact the creditors of the accounts you believe are fraudulent to dispute the account and request that they begin a fraud investigation. Send each creditor a completed ID theft affidavit. If they do not have their own affidavit, obtain one online from the FTC website at

File a police report with your local police. Ask for a copy of the report to provide to creditors.

File a complaint with the FTC by calling 877-438-4338. Visit the FTC website for more information and additional resources at

How does a Short Sale affect your credit score compared to a Foreclosure?
No one but FICO can really answer the question, but it appears that they are both treated the same. The months preceding the final outcome and the way the Mortgage Company decides to report the account are going to determine the impact on the score.

Why is my Mortgage showing as “included in bankruptcy” if I didn’t include it?
When you file bankruptcy all of your debt and assets are included. It is the consumer & creditors responsibility after the discharge of bankruptcy to reaffirm the debt and report it as current.

Why are only two of the three bureaus reporting my Tax Lien as released?
The Credit Bureaus contract individuals to physically go to the Courthouse and report back new public records but they don’t search archives. There is no way to know why only two of the three bureaus picked up your release but we can help you get that correction made at the bureau level.

Should I settle with a collection agency?
It all depends on the age of the collection account. If the collection account is close to 7 years old, you will be bringing that status to a more current date which will hurt your credit rating. If the collection is more recent then yes it is a good idea to settle the collection so that it can start aging as a settled in full account.

How many points do I lose every time someone pulls my credit?
All Mortgage inquiries, within a 30-day period, would count as one inquiry. You will see the most effect on the score when you have multiple types of inquiries such as an Installment inquiry, Mortgage inquiry, and a Credit Card Inquiry. There is no way to tell how much exactly it will affect your score.

What is the difference between a Collection and a Charge-Off?
A collection account is debt that has been delinquent for a set period of time as determined by the original creditor. An account usually goes into collection status after 90 days of non-payment. Collection accounts can be collected upon internally by the creditor or by an external collection agency. A charge-off is debt that has been determined uncollectible by the original creditor, usually after the debtor has become seriously delinquent. Typically charge-offs occur after six months of non-payment and the debt is written off of the creditors books. Creditors can still collect on collection accounts and charge-offs because the debt is still valid. Collection accounts and Charge-offs remain on your credit report for seven years from the date first delinquent.

Why is the creditor still reporting a balance when I paid them off years ago?
When you pay an account in full it is the creditor’s responsibility to report the account as paid. Sometimes this does not happen. You can contact the creditor directly to ask them to report the account or you can dispute the information yourself to have it corrected at the bureau level.

How can a Mortgage Broker pull my credit without having me sign something?
Most loan applications are now taken by phone. The Mortgage Company is required to ask your permission to access your credit and document the conversation but they do not have to have a written authorization. Unless you live in VT or CA, then the Mortgage Company is always required to obtain a written copy of the borrower authorization.

How do I opt-out of credit offers?
To Opt Out of mail solicitations, please call 888-5-OPTOUT
To Opt Out of pre-screened credit or insurance offers, please go to

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