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"Credit File Errors Plague Consumers"

Millions Of Americans May Have Credit File Problems

CONTACT: Paul S. Richard, ICFE Executive Director

San Diego, CA.  

Top 10 Reasons People Cite For Their Credit Difficulties

1. Lost job or income unexpectedly.
2. Separation or divorce.
3. Co-signed for another.
4. Has been bankrupt before.
5. Maxed out on credit cards.
6. Illness or other accidental disability.
7. Tax liens or judgments.
8. Has bounced checks in past.
9. Victim of crime or fraud.
10. Other.

Top 10 Reasons People Cite For Their Credit File Problems

1. Late or missed payments.
2. Once delinquent items, now paid, not removed.
3. Separation and/or divorce.
4. Bankruptcy.
5. Collection and/or charge-offs.
6. Other family members with same/similar name.
7. All credit cards leases or loans are not listed.
8. Incorrect information in file.
9. Too many credit inquiries.
10. Victim of fraud.

Millions of Americans may have credit problems and don't even know. They will learn about it the next time they apply for credit or request an increase i a credit limit. Up to one third of all calls received on a credit file correction help line* involved individuals whose credit rating was damaged or whose credit files had problems they said were caused by a former spouse after a divorce or separation agreement. (*Operated by the nonprofit Institute of Consumer Financial Education, (ICFE), based in San Diego - 619-239-1401 7AM-5PM PST.)

The ICFE's informal survey of callers, over a one year period from November 1999 through November 2000, revealed the number one reason cited by consumers for their credit file problems was late or missed payments, followed by paid delinquent items not being removed - they don't have to be removed, according to the law, just noted that it was paid - and third, problems caused by a failed agreement made with their former spouses.

The number of people calling in about credit or credit file problems involving a divorce agreement continues to grow. In most instances, these individuals allowed their former spouse to "take over" responsibility for payment of jointly held debts and or future credit purchases as a part of the separation or divorce agreement - which is a mistake. The reason is that your creditors are not a part of the divorce agreement and in most instances probably would not approve of the arrangement anyway says the ICFE. Visit the ICFE on-line at:

If you do not have Internet access, send $1 and a double stamped, self-addressed envelope to: ICFE Credit File Request Forms, PO Box 34070 San Diego CA 92163-4070 to receive the same information on their Web sites.

Should mistakes appear on your credit files, the ICFE publishes a "Do-It-Yourself Credit File Correction Guide" for $10. Included are step-by-step instructions, answers to the most often asked questions, consumer credit rights, sample letters to use when communicating with the various credit reporting agencies about credit file questions and difficulties and much more. Order on-line at: and
OR send $10 (plus postage) to: 

ICFE Credit File Guide 
U.S. PO Box
34070, San Diego, CA 92163. 
For more information, please call

For more information contact Paul S. Richard ICFE Executive Director at 619-239-1401.

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