While in Los Angeles, I met a friend who bemoaned the fact that a credit reporting agency refused to remove an item that was misreported recounting years of horror stories concerning his efforts to get them to correct it which resulted in the slander of his credit -for years- ultimately denying him a car lease. Then in today's Sunday Los Angeles Times there is a front page business section article on how to challenge false credit reporting noting an incident where someone was jammed on his report for items not his listing an address in Fresno where he never lived. This false reporting and slander of credit is so widely now in the press because it is epidemic. Recently we saw the report on the Veterans information stolen. All their social security numbers now are subject to false credit jamming and it will happen.

This could be, if you forgive the conspiratorial mind, an excellent way to shut up dissenters. If one creates havoc and mayhem in their personal financial life they have little energy left to protest.

False Credit reporting is a very serious problem in this country. It has spawned a whole industry of credit repair agencies and attorneys who do nothing but try to fix it.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission)  is supposed to regulate the credit companies, however the Credit Reporting companies (Transunion, Experion and Equifax) all are allowed to report anything WITHOUT FIRST VALIDATING AND VERIFYING the entry or even contacting the reportee prior. That is just INSANE. More than shocking that a system on which the lending and financing industry is set up, this is just wholly insane. Where else is anyone allowed to publish false information about you without verifying the data or checking with you first? We would call that negligent or reckless reporting if a journalist did it to publish the fact in a newspaper and it would provide grounds for a libel suit.

Given that the identity theft and stolen information crisis abounds credit reporting agencies do not and should not now enjoy the benefit of any credibility whatsoever given the fact that they NEVER first verify, validate or investigate or attempt to contact in any fashion the person reported BEFORE they report items and rarely remove anything- even when presented with proof to the contrary and a demand for investigation.  In some cases it takes six months to get an entry removed- which is just vile given the fact that we operate in an internet-email-real-time world where information can be communicated and verified in nanoseconds.

Six months suggests an entire company either so inept, so drunk or so intentionally fraudulent that it can't type "hello-sorry we made a mistake" without a dictionary of financial terms.  Of course they never admit "error" and just instead indicate the item was paid in some fashion to avoid the embarassment and potential class action litigation. It takes longer in some cases to get a credit report repaired than it does to have a baby- which means there are people out there- tens of thousands of them- who can't get a house before they can deliver a baby because of the False Reporting of the credit agencies and the slowness with which they correct themselves. Someone needs to bring that class action litigation unless the FTC issues very strict new rules concerning what level of investigation is required before reporting negative items on anyone's credit.

This strikes me as a completely bass-ackwards system where companies can report false information on people without giving them the benefit of challenge before the report is public. Of course the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is supposed to ensure that the collection agent or debt holder makes contact with the reported person but the credit reporting agency doesn't verify that this has happened before reporting it and often it has not happened.  People are given no warning whatever when a phantom collection agency (who can be joe schmo the idle collections attorney and his brother incorporating agencies to go after people they want to label "deadbeats" for political purposes.) There are MILLIONS of people who have been jammed with entries on their credit report that caught them totally by surprise- they had no idea they owed the item or that it would be reported. Before anyone is put in a position having to legitimate or defend that they do not owe something or some alleged charge or debt has nothing to do with them, before someone reports it slandering them to third parties, the onus should be on the reporting company to first verify, validate and authenticate that it is accurate.

Carl Rove could incorporate a collections agency (and he may well have) under the name of "Calvary Karl Trust" or "Roving Collections" and just start jamming political opponents credit reports with wild nickel and dime nonesense. Carl Rove may be on the board of Experian. Three small debt nickel and dime wild collections entries is all it takes to totally tank a credit rating. Before any credit reporting agency should be allowed to report on anything they should provide the material to the person on whom they wish to jam the item with an opportunity to rebut it before it makes it to a credit report.

The gentleman alluded to above who suffered for YEARS a credit item which the agency refused to remove is a millionare. He was being accused of not paying a debt of under $100.00.  People of any wealth at all, pay debts of under $100. if they are real and true debts. They tend not to want to pay what they know they do not owe.

The only reason that credit jamming would take place against such a person, would be to slander them intentionally.

This situation is not going to be helped by consolidating all the collection companies into one- that will just centralize the ability to ability to Jam a person without the balance of the investigation of the other CRAs. That will just make one authority the only authority with all the political influence tied into one agency. This is only going to be helped if the FTC issues strict investigation and challenge rules- or if that is somehow fashioned into a remedy after the largest national class action ever brought.

Credit reporting companies have enormous control over people's lives. They, like any corporation, have Boards of Directors who have political affiliations. These should be examined very closely. Someone should bring that national class action. The damage collectively to people's lives has been enormous.

Member of the State Bars of California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. Sender gives permission to forward the article.