Beginning in November, Mississippians can obtain free credit reports as part of a settlement reached by the state attorney general's office.
An investigation by the Mississippi Attorney General's office found the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax made mistakes on credit reports, including failing to verify debts and not deleting old ones. Attorney General Jim Hood received complaints about the problems.
"Because on the credit reports were showing they had judgements against them, which it was on someone else it wasn't on them. So, that was an error that they had great difficulty getting corrected, getting to a live person to say this wasn't me. And then they had to get documents and basically an act of congress to prove it wasn't their debt in the first place," said Hood.
Hood says the companies were more interested in selling their credit reports than being consumer friendly. Investigators also discovered Experian and TransUnion offered a free credit score or a credit report for $1, then automatically enrolled Mississippians in a monthly credit monitoring service without their knowledge. In a settlement reached, the three companies will pay the state a total of $7.1 million and overhaul their business practices. Beginning early November, two of the companies will provide Mississippians with unlimited access to free credit reports for the next three years. John O'Hara is with the Better Business Bureau.
"You should be checking your credit report set aside time to do that not just for yourself, but also run your children's because some times people will take underage children and establish credit under them and start spending money on a 15 or 16 year old child, said O'Hara.
Mississippians have to register to receive the free credit reports. Information is available on the state attorney general's website.