The Federal Trade Commission conducted a study which found that one in five consumers discovered mistakes on at least one of their credit reports that might impact their credit scores.
However, many (perhaps most) of the errors on credit reports aren’t actually caused by the credit bureaus themselves. Rather, data furnishers like banks, creditors and collection agencies can accidentally report incorrect information to the credit bureaus. The bureaus, unfortunately, have no way of knowing a piece of information on your credit report is wrong – unless you tell them.
Other credit reporting errors can occur when the credit bureaus inadvertently mix the files of two consumers together. This often happens to people with similar names and similar addresses, such as John Doe and John Doe Jr. that live on Main Street.
Finally, some credit reporting errors are the result of identity theft and fraud. Yet again, the credit bureaus can’t know that an account doesn’t really belong to you unless you make them aware of the problem. This is why it’s critical to check your three credit reports for accuracy on a regular basis.