Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Annual Credit Report

Folks, it's a smart move to check your credit report at least once a year. The government now makes the 3 major credit bureaus give you a free check one time a year and it's pretty simple to do,,,except for Transunion's,,, you need account numbers and practically your mamma's, mamma's, birthday and birth weight to get at their report. (I personally think they do this so you'll throw up your hands and have a tantrum before finally giving up).

Anyhow, the reason I'm suggesting this fine idea, is because whilst doing the annual check of our credit worthiness I found 2 potentially negative items on the report from the Experian agency that hadn't been there when I checked last year. They have this little button you can click if you disagree with their information and they're supposed to investigate and correct their mistakes, etc...

I'm not sure how much time or effort they spend on research in order to make corrections but I'm here to tell ya, it's best to skip that little step cause it takes them about a month to do their "investigation" and apparently they don't do much during that period of time cause when I finally got the results, nothing had changed and I knew something smelly was going on in regards to those 2 potentially negative items.

So, I got out my magnifying glasses and tracked over to the Original Creditor section of the Experian report and see where both of the items in question originate from Helena Regional Medical Center.

"AH-HA", says I, " I know we haven't used the services of these fine folks since they garnished our bank account for someone else's bill back in 2002, so let's see what those crooked scoundrels have been up to now."

So, I called them and reached a lady named Brenda first, who knew nothing because none of the relevant information came up on her computer screen, so I'm transferred over to Ken in the financial office. I gave Ken the two account numbers in question and asked him about the services we supposedly received because we'd never actually been in his hospital on those dates and we'd also never been billed for the invisible services that were showing up on our credit report.

First we verified the last 4 digits of the social and that matched.

"Hmmm", says I. "So, who was this patient who received these emergency room services?"

"Mr. SoandSo received treatment", says Ken.

"Ahhh, it so happens that Mr. SoandSo is not a member of our household, I don't know who Mr. SoandSo is, where he lives, or anything else about Mr. SoandSo, and something fishy is going on since Mr. SoandSo has the same social security number as my husband", says I. "What billing address do you have on record for Mr. SoandSo"?

Ken informed me right quick that he wasn't allowed to share that piece of information with me.

"Then let me give you our address and you can check to see if it's the same as Mr. SoandSo", I suggested.

After I gave him my address Ken says, "Oh,,,Ok,,I think there's been a mistake here somewhere."

"Oh yes, Ken, that just happens to the the exact reason for my call", says I. "And since you're all up in this little matter of correcting mistakes, let me give you the other account number, again, and you can fix that error too."

After giving Ken the second account number, again, he proceeds to tell me that those charges came from the emergency room Doctor's billing service and it had nothing to do with them.

"How is this so", says I? "It's a charge from your emergency room doctor and he gets his patient billing address and other information from you, right?"

Ken agreed that indeed the information came from the hospital and he quickly agreed that there'd been some mistakes and he'd call me back after he got everything corrected.

5 hours later he called and said everything had been fixed but it would take at least 30 to 45 days for the information to be corrected by the credit bureaus. He did promise to send me a letter with the results of the investigation, so if it wasn't corrected by then, I'd have something to prove the charges weren't ours.

Now all I can do is wait to see if it's done.

It's scary folks, and it's sad, but it's a good idea to keep an eye out for this stuff.

And it sure can make you cranky to deal with it!


Cindra said...

I think they need to start taking photographs and fingerprints of these people so they have a reference to go back to in case of fraud... which is what happened to you.

Mary Lou said...

Egads, I dont know that I WANT to know!

Sally said...

Wow, Ms. Brenda, you are SO right that we need to check those credit reports.

This happened to someone near and dear to me; they were going to refinance their house - the credit report came back not very good. Low and behold, it showed them (him) get this now - $700,000.00 in arrears on an account.

It's fixed now; but, it had been his father's back when he started up another business, and somehow the son's name was on it. I thought my "near and dear" was gonna have a stroke!

Thanks for the reminder.

mreddie said...

It was a wonder that they didn't want a blood sample to make sure who you were. :) ec

Attila The Mom said...

Good on you!!

We had a doctor's office try to bill our insurance twice for someone with the same last name. Not the same, but what a pain!

jazzi said...

Thanks for the heads up, Brenda. I need to check that out pronto.

virginia gal said...

Good for you to do all this work, isn't it sad, someone else makes a mistake or does something fradulent and than good honest people are the one who have to pay. It really peeves me.

Thanks for the warning too, I'll look into my credit report...may sure no one is charging up ER bills to me either.

katerina said...

Way to go with that eagle eye, Miz Lady Bee!

Between human errors, bureaucratic redundancies and bugs within computer applications, we don't even need scam artists mucking up the works, but we get scam artists anyway, just to keep it lively.

I don't yet need the bigass laugh looking at my own credit report would provide, but I wonder if the same rules apply in Canada...

jerri said...

yes do check your stuff. several years ago when trying to purchase my first car on my very own I found that I had a repo'd car and motorcycle on my report..now mind you This was the first car I was purchasing and I had never been a biker babe so HUMMMMMM..also I was finding myself being denied at several places to write checks! seems that a JerrY Martin which was a black guy that I went to school with actually was the fine owner of all the bad credit!! My dads name is Jerry as well (yep named after him LOL) so I make sure he checks his things as well because just as recent as a year ago I found I owed SWB about 900.00 yet I hav not had a home phone in about 6 years! now lets talk about scary LOL

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