• How Do Public Records Impact Your Credit Score?

    You may already know that your credit score fluctuates based on various types of financial information. If you have different types of credit accounts, make payments on time and in full, and otherwise manage your credit responsibly, then you are likely to have a good credit score. Certain public records, credit card debt, unpaid accounts, and similar financial issues can lower your credit score. Unfortunately, adverse actions taken against you will remain on your credit reports for a set period of time. However, this does not mean that you do not have any means of improving your credit score. Credit reporting rights for residents of Fairfax include the right to contact a credit lawyer to file a credit report dispute. Advise your credit lawyer if you identify erroneous information on your reports.

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    Tax Liens

    If you owe federal or state taxes, these debts will not appear on your credit report and will not affect your credit score. By deciding to pay off these debts-such as with an installment payment plan-you can avoid further problems. However, if you do not make arrangements to pay the taxes you owe, the IRS may issue a tax lien against you. Tax liens are a matter of public record and they will appear on credit reports. Some credit reporting agencies will remove unpaid tax liens from your credit report after 15 years from the filing date. Even if you pay the debt and the tax lien is released, it will remain in your records for seven years.

    Civil Judgments

    If your credit reports wrongfully reflect a civil judgment, it is time to visit a law firm specializing in inaccurate credit reports in Fairfax. Civil judgments include judgments from small claims court. For example, if you have unpaid rent and your landlord sues you, the court may issue a judgment against you for the amount you owe. A civil judgment will remain on your credit reports for seven years from the date of entry. You cannot remove it sooner by paying it off sooner unless of course, the information is inaccurate, and you dispute it successfully.


    Bankruptcy will significantly affect credit scores. Although you can begin restoring your credit score after your bankruptcy discharge, it will remain on your credit history for years. Bankruptcy information is removed 10 years from the date of entry of the order of relief.

  • How to Handle Credit Report Errors

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles every American to a free copy of each their credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. At any time, you may choose to purchase additional copies. Residents of the Fairfax area who exercise their credit reporting rights by regularly reviewing their credit reports are likely to come across errors at some point. These errors are sometimes fixable with a credit report dispute. When an error lingers, it is time to contact a credit lawyer to discuss other options.

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    File a Credit Report Dispute

    After detecting a credit report error, your first step is to file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. Although the credit bureaus try to make it easy for consumers to file disputes online, it is best to send a dispute package through the mail. Type a formal letter that includes your full name and address, a succinct description of each item you are disputing, and a clear explanation of why the information is inaccurate. Close the letter by requesting that the credit bureau delete or correct the erroneous information. Sign your letter, enclose copies of documents that support your argument, and mail the dispute package return receipt requested. Be sure to maintain good records of all of your correspondence.

    Contact the Creditor

    You may also mail a dispute letter to the creditor associated with the erroneous information. Include a copy of every document you submitted to the credit bureau. Include an additional letter informing the creditor that you are disputing the information with that entity as well. While you may dispute directly with the creditor, you must dispute with the credit reporting agencies in order to trigger many of your credit reporting rights.

    Consult a Credit Lawyer

    It can take time for a credit bureau to correct its mistakes. However, if you do not hear back from the credit bureau or the creditor in a timely fashion, consider talking to a credit lawyer. Often, credit bureaus drag their heels when it comes to fixing their mistakes. Having a credit lawyer on your side can encourage the credit bureau to correct the error. Depending on your situation, you might also consider filing a lawsuit. A credit lawyer can help you consider the merits of seeking compensatory damages in court.

  • Get the Facts on Employer Credit Checks

    You may already know that if you have poor credit, you may have difficulty obtaining a car loan, mortgage, or credit card. But did you know that you could also jeopardize your candidacy for a job? Many employers run background credit checks on job candidates. By reviewing a candidate’s financial history, it is thought that employers are better able to weed out candidates who have previously demonstrated irresponsibility or who may be more likely to pilfer from the office petty cash. Unfortunately, many responsible job candidates are at risk of being turned down for a position because of credit report errors. If you have suffered damages of this nature, consider talking to a credit lawyer located near Fairfax. A credit lawyer at a consumer law practice can help you get these mistakes corrected.

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    Checking Your Credit Reports

    If you are in the market for a new job and there may be a possibility that potential employers will check your credit history, it may be a good idea to check your credit reports in advance. It can take months to fix credit report errors; staying on top of your financial information is crucial. If you do find errors, consider contacting a credit lawyer for help fixing them.

    Signing a Release Form

    Employers are not allowed to check your credit history without your permission. You will be asked to sign a release form. Of course, you can choose not to sign the release form. However, refusing your permission for a credit check is not likely to lead to a job offer. You should retain copies of all documents that you sign or that you are provided by prospective employers including any application that you complete.

    Consider Disclosing Additional Information

    If you choose to sign the release form and you already know that your credit history is less than favorable, you could provide an explanation to the hiring manager. For example, you could say that you are currently disputing erroneous information on your credit report and that the information currently available is not an accurate representation of your fiscal responsibility. If the information is accurate, but unfavorable, you could still offer an explanation if you choose. You might say that you have unpaid medical bills due to a family member’s long, unexpected illness, for instance, and you are working to repay these bills. However, it is your choice whether to disclose your financial information to a prospective employer.