(KTNV) -- For all of you who may be worried about your credit, especially after all the recent data breaches, we now have tips on what to do if you find a mistake on your credit report.
Do you know what to do, who to call, if there's a mistake on your credit report?
Once an identity thief has your personal information they can use that to open accounts you've never heard of.
Sometimes unnoticed fraudulent charges appear on a credit report.
By federal law, Americans are entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion once every 12 months. Experts recommend checking those out over the course of the year.
If you find errors or accounts that don't appear to be yours, the Federal Trade Commission advises contacting the credit reporting bureau in writing, and include copies of any documents that support your case.
They're required to investigate, unless the claim is found frivolous, and they're required to give you an answer in writing. Make a similar written dispute to the creditor who reported the bill or charge in question. The process can take between 30 and 90 days.
Remember, negative information, like high balances and unpaid bills usually stays on a credit report for seven years.
If you file for bankruptcy, that information stays for ten years, which can really affect your credit if you're shopping for a car or a home.