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Credit Report

Under the 'Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act' of 2005 you are entitled to receive a free copy of your personal credit report from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) once every twelve months.

To order your copy online, visit If you prefer, call 1-877-322-8228 toll free.

It is advisable to request a copy of your personal credit report from each of the reporting agencies since the information may be different. You may choose to order all three reports at the same time; however, experts recommend that you divide up your requests throughout the year; for example, every four months. It's your choice. The Frequently Asked Questions section of the website can help you decide which is best for you as well as answer other questions you may have. Whether it's to apply for a loan, or guard against identity theft, you should check and protect your credit.

Correcting Errors

Under the FCRA, both the credit reporting company and the information provider (Bank) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report.

Step One

Tell the credit reporting company or bank, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should clearly identify each item in your report you dispute, state the facts and explain why you dispute the information, and request that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report with the items in question circled. Your letter may look something like the one below. Send your letter by certified mail, "return receipt requested," so you can document what the credit reporting company received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

Send the Letter to:

Putnam Bank, a division of Centreville Bank Loan Center 50 Canal Street, Putnam, CT 06260 or Putnam Bank, a division of Centreville Bank, 40 Main Street, Putnam, CT 06260 attn: Loan Center.

Credit reporting companies must investigate the items in question — usually within 30 days —unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the credit reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide credit reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

Sample Dispute Letter