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While your address doesn't affect your credit score, you should take any incorrect identifying information on your credit report seriously. The appearance of a truly unfamiliar address on your credit report could be a sign of identity theft. However, just because you haven't lived at an address doesn't mean it's on your report in error. If the address is linked to you in other ways, it's likely a valid piece of your credit history.
Here's how to determine whether an address belongs on your report and how to dispute it if it doesn't.
Why an Address You Didn't Live at Appears on Your Credit Report
There are a few reasons an address may show on your credit report, and most aren't cause for alarm:
- You've recently moved from the address. If you've just moved and your old address is still showing up on your report, don't sweat it. No action is needed. Your mailing address will automatically update after your creditors report it to the bureaus, and some delay is expected.
- You're an authorized user on a joint account associated with the address. If you are a joint account holder or authorized user on an account with a friend or family member, their address could be associated with you and subsequently show up on your credit report. You can't remove the address in this case because it's a legitimate piece of your credit history, but it won't hurt your credit in any way.
- You've received mail at the address. Your creditors may report any address where you have received mail, and any address associated with an account that has your name on it. This means that it's normal for your credit report to include addresses unrelated to your residential address, like temporary mailing addresses, work addresses and P.O. boxes.
If any of the above apply, there's no reason to dispute the address.
However, if the address isn't explained away by any of the above and is truly unfamiliar to you, it's time to take action. An inexplicable address on your credit report could be an indication of fraud. Report the incorrect information right away by filing a dispute.
How to Dispute an Incorrect Address on Your Credit Report
The fastest way to report an incorrect address on your credit report is to open a dispute online. Experian will investigate the origin of the address. As long as it isn't associated with any of your accounts, Experian can remove it.
To initiate a dispute, navigate to the Experian Dispute Center. Then, click "Start a new dispute" and follow the prompts on the screen.
After you file your dispute, expect to hear back from Experian with dispute results within 30 days. Your dispute results will also show in the Completed tab in the Dispute Center as soon as they're available.
Note that while incorrect information can be removed from your credit history, information verified as correct will remain on your report.
Check Your Credit Report and Remain Proactive
Act defensively to prevent identity theft by signing up for Experian's free credit monitoring service. Check routinely for any unexpected changes and report inaccurate information right away.
If activity on your report leads you to suspect fraud, Experian's Fraud Alert Center can help you discover potential identity theft and help you avoid it going forward. Placing a fraud alert on your account notifies lenders that identity thieves may be attempting to take out credit in your name and instructs them to take extra steps to verify your identity.