Bad news for consumers: most of the time, bureaus do not check into if you approved a credit “pull” on your credit reports.
If you have 5 or more hard inquiries, your score will drop like you missed a payment!
Click on the “open” tabs to learn more.
All about inquiries:Inquiries are put on your credit for a myriad of reasons: Job applications, apartment leases, and of course, when applying for credit.
Pulling your own credit doesn't hurt your credit score. When you check your own credit (like getting your online credit report) it won't put a ding on your credit report because it's looked at as healthy behavior.
When someone else checks your credit, supposedly because you've approved them to check it, a small mark will show up. These alone don't do any harm. It's when you get 5 or more that the bureaus will hold it against you.
The bureaus don't question creditors
The real clients of the bureaus are creditors; they pay the bureaus every time they send or receive information. When the creditors report a hard inquiry, the bureaus automatically report it as legit, even if you've never given them permission or signed anything. It's up to you to play Sherlock Holmes and nicely ask the creditors to remove unwarranted inquiries.
Challenging Your InquiriesYes, you can challenge your inquiries with the creditor who put them on your credit report.
Make a list of your hard inquiries
Get all three credit reports through whatever service works best for you.
Select the hard inquiries that you do not remember authorizing.
Many "authorizations" these days are done through Terms and Conditions when someone is filling out a form online, or over the phone. By law, the creditor must explicitly ask for you permission to pull your credit, or they cannot report a hard inquiry. If you do not recall being asked, or signing a paper, and you do not believe the creditor can prove that you gave your permission, dispute it!
Write the creditor where the hard inquiry is listed
You will need to write a letter to each creditor where the inquiry was originated. Your Experian credit report lists the addresses of all the creditors. Important: Make sure they match up with your other credit reports, or you might have to do some digging for the additional addresses.
You can find a sample challenge letter here (but make sure you write your own version):