The Federal Trade Commission has many handy publications, including this guide to disputing credit report errors. It’s really just a three-step process:

  1. Obtain a copy of your credit report — The Fair Credit Reporting requires that each of the three major credit reporting agencies provide you with a free copy of your credit report once per year. But you have to request it. Do that through annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
  2. Notify the consumer reporting company of any errors — If you find errors, contact the company in writing with the information that you think is inaccurate. If you have documentation, include it. (Always send copies, never originals.) The FTC provides a sample letter.
  3. Notify creditors of any errors — Contact the company that provided the data in writing with the information that you think is inaccurate. Again, provide copies of any applicable documentation. Most companies (especially credit card companies) have a specific phone number or address for disputes.

You should take names and employee ID numbers any time you have direct contact with an individual. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it helps lend your documentation needed validity.

Read the entire publication at the FTC web site.