Many people think of credit retroactively and that actually hurts them when it comes time to apply for credit. Being proactive, on the other hand, will help you avoid these 4 credit report mistakes many people miss.

For many people, credit is something that they rarely keep tabs on until it comes time apply for more of it. When they need a car loan or decide to buy a home, for example, that is the time many people suddenly care about their credit.

While this, of course, is definitely a good time to start keeping track of your credit it is by no means the best way to ensure that your credit information is accurate. As a matter of fact, not paying attention to your credit during your most financially stable times could actually hurt you in the end.

The truth is, the credit reporting agencies collect their information from several sources. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are each private companies, which means they also have their own respective ways of doing things.

Out of this truth you need to extract that when they collect information they do so blindly; that is to say that they pool information from all over the internet and the financial industry by simply following your name or your address (and other contact information). While they will use your social security number, of course, to track your credit activity, it is not the only source of information they track.

In many cases this information is incorrect or simply out of date. Furthermore, if you have been victimized by identity theft or have experienced fraud of some kind, your information is even more sensitive and is much more prone to errors.

In light of this, here are four of the most common types of credit report errors:

First of all, you need to make sure that your personal history is correct. Your credit reports will show where you have worked and where you have lived. If the address listed is off by a single digit or even misspelled you could experience issues with your credit report.

Perhaps someone shares your last name or has one that is spelled similarly to yours. Minute details like these are easy to overlook but can cause major problems.

Secondly, you need to make sure that your identifying information is correct. This is the stuff that is personal only to you, things like: your birthdate, your social security number, etc. If you look at your credit report and you see a delinquent account, for example, and you know that you have always paid on time, this could be due to the fact that someone else’s information simply got mixed in with yours.

Often this is due to typos in the identifying information; unless, of course, it is fraud, in which case you should report it immediately.

Third, you will want to check all of the information regarding each and every one of your previous credit accounts. Make sure that your credit report lists all of your debts, especially those that you have managed well (hopefully that is all of them). This information could be enough to lower your score by several points.

Finally, you will want to make sure that all of your payment information is accurate. When you make a payment on time, someone at the lending institution inputs that into a computer but they are not necessarily able to confirm its accuracy.

You, in fact, are the only one who can do this, so be sure to check it regularly. Fixing credit report mistakes like this could cause a big jump in your credit score and it is so simple that most people overlook it.