We know, we know — we should stop talking about credit and finance during such a festive time of year. Whether you’re carving pumpkins or picking out a great costume, chances are good that you want to focus on the fun stuff and not so much of this credit business. Yet if you really want to cap your year off right, you really need to hear us out here.

The reason why we’re always talking about credit is because now is the best time to make sure that you are thinking about it. You want to always make sure that you focus on your credit because this is the top time of year when identity theft happens. Even if identity theft weren’t the top thing that you were focusing on, it still needs to be in the back of your mind that as you are spending money, there’s a possibility that credit thieves are dreaming about spending your money and ruining your good name too. That’s why we’re constantly singing the praises of credit monitoring services. When you compare their value to their price, you’ll find that most of them are a bargain. With a 30 day trial backing most of them, you will be able to see if you’re getting any benefits out of it or not.

Yet you don’t need to just stop there — why not expand into other parts of the DIY credit repair world? It’s okay if you want to start out with just getting an eye on your credit and making sure that nobody is trying to mess you up, but it goes so much deeper than that. You can actually make sure that you go through the process of checking your credit score for errors.

Errors happen over time, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent them. However, there is a point where you can dispute these errors. The trouble that comes online is that people tell you can’t. The issue here isn’t that there are negative pieces of information on your credit. Not at all. In fact, if you have negative information that’s accurate, there’s nothing that you can do about that information except wait. How long? Well, you have to wait until the statute of limitations is run out on the debt. The negative information will then go off of your credit report. Sometimes this does not happen and people believe that they are stuck paying for debt that should have been brushed off. You will need to make sure that you look up the specific statute of limitation laws for your state as well as the state where the company in question does business. If your contract with them specifically states that they are going off the laws in their state, then you must make sure that you go off the information for the SOL in their state.

So, to recap — ACCURATE negative information is not an error. Errors would be debts that you did not ring up (identity theft), as well as incorrect information — a trade line reporting a 5,000 debt instead of a 500 dollar debt. These things can really mess up your credit score.

To fight them you’re going to have to break out the printer and type up some letters. You can’t go on the phone, and you can’t send email. That doesn’t establish a proper paper trail that you can use in court. There’s nothing wrong with calling around to get information, but you want to make sure that you save the real heart of your argument for letters.

You also need to make sure that you send your dispute letters certified mail, return receipt requested. It’s still the gold standard for making sure that someone actually did receive what you were trying to send them. It’s hard to think that your letters will be effective — especially if you really don’t hear anything else from the person. But you have to make sure that you give the other party at least 30 days to respond to you before you can move further with your case.

Hopefully you will have the error not only corrected but in most cases it will be removed from your record. This should raise your credit score.

The only word of caution that we give is that it’s so important not to try to dispute information that is correct. All you will be gaining is a temporary rise in your credit score. If you dispute correct information that is proved true, you can draw attention to it without expecting it — which can invite aggressive collection efforts, of course. If you’re trying to go under the radar, sometimes it’s a good idea not to wake up a sleeping giant if you can honestly help it.

Now is definitely the time to give yourself the gift of DIY credit repair. Yes, there are a lot of things that you’re going to have to learn, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world, really. You just need to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row quickly so that you’re moving forward to a better financial life, inside and out. Why not start today? It really could be one of the best decisions that you’ve made to date — don’t delay for too long!

By Jasmina