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What to Do If You Cannot Access Your Online Credit Report

Dear Experian,

A friend of mine has been out of prison for five months and is trying to get his credit report. He has his identification card and Social Security number, but he is still having a hard time obtaining his report. He was away for a long time. He has a mental disability so he is not able to remember old address or phone numbers. What would be his next step?

– MDS

Dear MDS,

Your friend may be having trouble getting his credit report because he just doesn’t have one any longer. If it has been a number of years since he has used credit, all of his accounts may have been deleted. If all of his accounts were either delinquent or closed during the time he served, all of them may have been removed, meaning he no longer has a credit history for Experian to provide.

Experian deletes delinquent accounts seven years from the original delinquency date of the accounts. Accounts with no negative history are removed 10 years from the date they are closed.

Experian would have provided a notice indicating it has no information on file.

Security Questions Asked When Accessing Your Credit Report

Experian offers several ways to order a copy of your credit report. When requesting a credit report online, Experian will ask for certain identifying information, and you will be asked a series of questions pertaining to your credit history. This process is in place to ensure that your credit information does not end up in the wrong hands.

If your friend is having trouble providing the information requested or passing the authentication steps to order online, he likely will be asked to submit his request in writing and provide documentation to verify his identity.

Requesting Your Credit Report by Mail

One reason may be that his current address is not yet part of the Experian credit report, especially if the address is relatively new. To make certain that Experian will be able to verify his identity, your friend should include a copy of his driver’s license or state identification card showing his current address, and one copy of a current utility bill, bank or insurance statement displaying that address. He should also include:

  • His full name, including his middle name or initial and any generation code (such as JR, SR, II, III)
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Any other addresses he has had within the past two years

Because he was incarcerated, he may also be asked to provide documentation from the correctional institution verifying his residence there.

Once his letter is received, Experian will be able to verify his identity and mail him a current copy of his credit report, if there is one on file.

Thank you for asking,
The “Ask Experian” Team

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