It is important for consumers to fix mistakes on their credit report whether they hire an agency or do it themselves. Everyone is entitled to one free copy of their credit report each year. The three credit bureaus are: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Obtain a copy of the report and review it for accuracy. Here are a few important items to look for on the report: Lake payments. There should be no late payments over seven years old on the report. 35% of a credit score is based on accurate payments. Collections. The report should not list any collections or charge-offs that are more than seven years old. It is wise to save copies of your credit report for seven years to show proof of when an item was added. Payment records. Make sure all paid in full installment loans and all collections that have been paid off show a zero balance. Mysterious Accounts. Consumers should be able to recognize any incorrect account by mistaken identity or identity theft. Contact the creditor immediately to compare their name and social security number with the one shown for the incorrect amount. Also, keep in mind that when closing out a credit card, it actually shrinks the available credit listed on your report and hurts the credit utilization ratio.