18 June 2006

and i need to do what...?

I've been a member of the gym since January.  In May, I received my first copy of the gym's monthly newsletter.  I'm not sure, but I think that someone drove out to my place and has been checking my mail for four months, stealing only my gym newsletter.  It's thinking like this that provides fecund fodder for my therapy sessions.

So, I was rereading June's edition, cuz I mighta missed something very important in those 4 pages, when I thought, "hey!  look at that!  info on checking credit reports.  for free!  yippee!!"  That's for me, cuz I like free.  I've never seen a copy of any version of my own credit report.  It sounded like a fine thing to do.

Well, sorta.

I went to the main site.  I entered the basic core data.  It sent me then to other sites to collect my credit reports from three agencies.  All three of them use the basic core data to access my report.  Then, there are verification questions, so that they can give you the impression that your credit report is safely secure and only legitimate people can access it.  The idea is that only you will know the answer to one or more questions based on info in your credit report.  Answer the question(s) correctly and PRESTO! you can access your credit report, but wait! that's not all!  cuz you can even print it out!  yippee!!

Now, the first agency asks me to verify either past addresses, current bank accounts, past work history, or current credit &/or loan account information.  Currently, I do not have any credit cards, debit cards, savings, checking, or other sorts of bank accounts.  So I opted to verify a past address.

Now, I realize that I have moved lots.  I am no longer certain of exactly how many times I have changed addresses cuz I just round off at the 50th move and let it go at that.  But I can tell you which states I have lived in and which ones I have not.  Ditto for countries.

So, I feel fairly confident that I can verify some form of some past address somewhere.  Up pops four street names, no towns, but state abbreviations are included.  The instructions are to pick one, provide the number for the domicile on that particular street in that particular state at which I have lived.  They do tell me that they intentionally list bogus locations along with the legitimate choice.

Well, yes, they did list bogus locations.  But there was not a legitimate choice.  Really, folks, I know that I have not lived in California, Rhode Island, or West Virginia.  The fourth choice was for British Columbia.  I've never lived in Canada.

So, I thought, well that's disconcerting.  Wow, if they got that info wrong, I wonder what else in my report is wrong.  So, I chose the work history option for the verification question.

Now, I'm 35.  Currently disabled (which is in part why I have no bank and credit accounts at the moment) and have been for a few years.  But I do have a work history.  Without that, as an adult, one can not qualify for disability no matter what the health complication is or your current ability to be gainfully employed.

The verification question is:  please list your employer for the following month/year.  Technically, that's not a question, but I'll list the info anyway cuz I really, really wanted to see what this agency had listed in my credit report.  I would have listed the info too.  If I could have.  I tried "no one" and "unemployed" but that apparently didn't match the misinformation they have listed on my report.

See, the month/year listed was:  May 1978.  At which time, I was 7.5 yrs old.  I was unemployed.  I was busy being a child.  There are child labor laws in effect, and there were at that time too.  Besides, my folks wanted me to finish the second grade.  Silly, I know, but it was essential for the continuation of my education.

Now I am thoroughly alarmed.  What sorts of erroneous claims are listed on the report at this agency?!?  What sort of effect might this misinformation have on my future?

I begin to search the site and its various pages for instructions on what to do, how to contact them, etc.  Time after time, place after place, I keep coming across the same statement:  if you have a question that is not answered on our FAQ page, eMail us your question.  No other contact information was listed anywhere.  No phone number (toll free or otherwise) and no mailing address.

I should say that no contact information was available, period.  There was not the suggested eMail address found on any page.  There was not the option of entering any sort of question on any sort of feedback form.

I thought that perhaps I misunderstood.  So I searched again.  They said to email them, but did not provide an address or any method of contact.

I shouldn't have been surprised.  I mean, given the misinformation already seen, why should I have expected there to be an actual solution to my problem (or anyone else's).  Silly me.


I did revisit the original site, and went on to verify my information, and accessed my credit reports (and printed them out, too!) at BOTH the other agencies.  All three use the same basic core information.  I didn't even access that section after I completed it.  That was before the first attempt to access the report at the first agency.  Both the other agencies were easy to navigate.  One report was more complete and accurate than the other.  But both were accessible.

A few hours later, I receive eMail from the first agency.  They are reminding me that I did not complete the process and to please verify so that I can access.  I send a reply and it comes back with the message that because eMail is not secure, they do not accept posts.

Interestingly, my guy also checked his reports and encountered the same problem with the first agency:  no legitimate answers/choices listed among the verification questions.  He too had no problems accessing the reports with the other two agencies.  His evaluations of the whole process were similar to mine.

argen fargen.

1 comment:

  1. Well what'd ya' wanna go and do THAT for?  Doofus.



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