What is a public record?
Public records are information pertaining to legal matters that have a direct impact on your finances. They list things like paid and unpaid debts, legal liabilities, and your payment history.
They tell a creditor if you are a good risk for a loan. When you are taken to small claims court and a judge makes a ruling against you, this judgment is considered a public record.
Foreclosures, bankruptcy, tax liens, civil judgments, and lawsuits are all types of public records that the government is required to file and keep available for the public. Most public records stay on your credit report for seven years.
However, bankruptcies may remain as long as 10 years and unpaid tax liens can remain on your credit report indefinitely.
What kind of information is included in a public record?
If you file for bankruptcy, the amount the court found you legally responsible to pay will be listed. There will also be an exempt amount. This is the amount the court says you are not responsible to pay.
Lastly, there will be an asset amount for the number of personal assets the court used to make its decision. These will all be listed under the bankruptcy and are the kind of public records that can significantly lower your credit ratings and affect your borrowing power.
Some other things that you might find in your public records might be things you consider personal, things like if you have had financial counseling, a financial statement, garnishments, and financial marital claims from a divorce. However, all of these things affect your income and so they affect your credit.
What information is not part of your public record?
You may feel like your whole life is on display, but it’s not entirely. There are a few categories of strictly confidential records that are protected by law. Confidential records include welfare benefits, income tax, education level, and medical and criminal records.
These records are kept confidential because they contain Social Security numbers, your contact information, health history, and your financial information.
How are public records made public?
The government takes making public records available to the public very seriously. It runs a service called PACER that is provided by the federal judiciary. PACER is short for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.
This is an electronic public access service. It lets users get case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, via the Internet.
The federal website for PACER says that it currently hosts over 500 million case file documents. These are available immediately after they have been electronically filed.
This is one of the ways your records become public records. This also allows your information to be reported to the three credit reporting agencies.
Do public records affect your credit score?
Having public records on your credit reports negatively impacts your credit score. They can be a deciding factor when a lender is making a financial decision.
Having a tax lien, civil judgment, or bankruptcy removed once they are on is a time-consuming job. If you have records that are dragging your credit score down get professional help to have them removed. If you’re able to remove any kind of negative information from your credit report it should definitely improve your credit score.
Keeping Information Off of Public Records
If you are facing small claims court or some other kind of financial dispute, it would be beneficial for you to settle out of court and avoid a public record on your credit report.
It is usually better to deal with your creditors directly if possible. Adverse records can affect your credit whether they are paid or unpaid.
Criminal history is not a public record that will be included in your credit report. It is illegal for credit reporting agencies to use your past criminal history in deciding your credit score.
Have you been taken to small claims court and lost? If so, you probably have a public record of some sort on your credit report usually in the form of a judgment.
What You Can Do About a Public Record
If you have a public record showing up on your credit report, you can still attempt to dispute the negative information with the credit bureaus to have it removed. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives consumers the ability to dispute incomplete and inaccurate information contained in their credit reports with the credit bureaus.
However, since public records also involve government agencies and courts, some additional steps may need to be taken in addition to disputing the information with the credit bureaus.
The following is a success story from one of our readers.
How I Messed Up My Credit Score
I lost my job a few years ago when my company went bankrupt. As a result, I had to pass through some tough times financially. My bills piled up and I couldn’t make my monthly credit card payments anymore.
Eventually, I had racked up significant credit card debts that I could not pay and my accounts were sent to collection agencies.
I started getting phone calls from collection agencies at all hours of the day. The harassment was an embarrassment. Finally, I filed for bankruptcy and the creditors stopped hounding me, however, the bankruptcy caused major damage to my credit.
I Took Control of My Credit
My bad credit prevented me from living my life the way I wanted to. I couldn’t qualify for a home loan or a car loan. I couldn’t go on vacation because my credit was too low to secure financing for anything.
One day I was talking to a friend of mine about my plight and he told me about a credit repair company, Lexington Law Firm. He said he had been in a similar situation and was able to greatly improve his credit by working with them. I had my doubts, but I didn’t have many options, so I gave them a shot.
I called 1 (800) 220-0084 and talked to a very helpful credit counselor who gave me some excellent advice. I decided to sign up and am happy that I did. They went to work quickly. Before long I was receiving letters in the mail from the credit bureaus informing me that negative items had been removed from my credit report.
My credit scores have continued to climb since I signed up. I was finally able to buy a new home and my finances have been great ever since. (See below.)
Bankruptcy Removed from My TransUnion Report:
I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that I found Lexington Law. I was finally able to purchase my first home and my financial life has been great ever since.
My credit history has improved significantly since there are no longer any negative accounts showing up. Here’s a snapshot of my new credit scores:
What Others Are Saying
I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, but after seeing what you were able to do with my credit after only a few months, it is very reassuring. Thank you for everything that you are doing for me and please pass on to your staff my appreciation for all of their hard work.— T.B., Lexington client
Thank you for your service. I have had great results from the work you have done on my behalf. I had been warned not to use any credit repair company, but after some research, I decided to give Lexington a try.— B.K., Lexington client
The results have been better than expected. Several items have been deleted from my credit report and more importantly, my credit score has dramatically improved. I was recently approved for ‘best rate’ financing on a new car and a home construction loan. Thanks.
Discount for Family Members, Couples, and Active Military!
They are now offering $50 off the initial set-up fee when you and your spouse or family members sign up together. The one-time $50.00 discount will be automatically applied to both you and your spouse’s first payment.
Active military members also qualify for a one-time $50 discount off the initial fee.
Get Public Records Removed Now!
If you’re sick and tired of having bad credit, I recommend giving Lexington Law a call for a free consultation.
They can delete all kinds of negative items from your credit reports, including: bankruptcies, foreclosures, judgments, tax liens, late payments, and more. On the call, you will also receive a no obligation, complimentary credit score – so call now or fill out the form below to get started!