How to Remove Unauthorized Hard Inquiries

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Reader Christine recently left a comment on the What is a good credit score? post in which she asked how she could get unauthorized hard inquiries removed. For her particular case, it’s likely that she agreed to the hard inquiries when she “clicked on a link on some website that I do not even remember now and got phone calls from about 5 lenders. I had very enlightening conversations but decided not to apply.”

Whether you apply for a loan or not, when you request quotes you will have agreed to the lenders pulling your credit report. They can’t give you a rate quote without knowing your credit score and credit history. Reputable companies won’t pull your credit without your permission because it’s illegal (it violates this: Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer).

But there are cases where someone could make an unauthorized hard inquiry and the solution is to send a “remove inquiry letter” to the credit reporting agencies.

Ask Creditors to Remove

The easiest way is to simply call or write to each of the creditors and ask them to remove their inquiry. Here’s a form letter that you can use:

[Your Full Name]
[Current Address]

RE: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a notice to cease unauthorized inquires into my credit report and a formal demand that you immediately contact the credit reporting agencies and bureaus to have your illegal inquiries removed. While checking my personal credit report from {insert Credit bureau name}, I noticed an inquiry made by your organization.

The details of the inquiry are as follows:

Line number: [Line Number]
Inquiry made on: [Inquiry Date]
Inquiry made by: [Creditor]

To the best of my knowledge I have not approved your organization, any person associated with your organization, to make such an inquiry. This violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681b(c): Transactions Not Initiated by Consumer. I also demand that you remove my personal information from your records. Please send written confirmation that you have complied.

If you believe that you posses sufficient document that supports your authorization to make the inquiry, please forward a copy so that I may verify its validity.

I am using certified mail to ensure that you receive this letter and expect a prompt response.


[Full Name]

The language in the form letter is forceful and direct, you can choose to make it softer by replacing demand with request, but I don’t think that’s necessary. If they requested your credit report without your consent, citing the FCRA will be enough to get them to act. Finally, remember to send by certified mail.

Send a Remove Inquiry Letter to Bureaus

If asking the creditor to remove it doesn’t work, or you can’t find them, the next best option is to notify the credit agencies that you didn’t authorize the inquiry. There are two options here, you can either go the route of an online dispute or use the certified letter method. For the certified letter method, you can use this form letter for that purpose:

[Your Full Name]
[Current Address]

Attention: [Credit Bureau]
[Credit Bureau’s Address]

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is a formal request to remove unauthorized inquiries from my credit report. I’ve enclosed a copy of the credit report that your organization provided me on [Date of Report]. I’ve listed the unauthorized inquiries below and also circled them in red on the enclosed report

Line Item [Line Number:
Creditor: [Creditor]

Before making this request, I contacted the organizations responsible for these unauthorized inquires asking them to remove them. I sent letters via certified mail and have proof they were received more than 30 days ago. They have failed to respond and therefore I ask for your assistance in resolving this issue.

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I request that you investigate my claim and if you find my claim to be valid and accurate, please delete the unauthorized inquiries. Furthermore, I ask that you send a corrected copy of my credit report to the above address.

If your investigation determines the inquiry was authorized, I respectfully request that you forward to me a description of the procedure used to determine this within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation.


[Full Name]

If you want to go online, here are their dispute forms:

If you don’t have a copy of your credit report, you can request one for free at once every twelve months.

Credit Bureau Addresses

National Consumer Assistance Center
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000

TransUnion: (Puerto Rico)
P.O. Box 34012
Fullerton, CA 92834

Why Bother?

Hard inquiries are bad for your credit because they are initiated when a lender is considering you for a loan. Other lenders assume that if you are asking for a loan, you need money. People who need money are riskier than people who don’t. Also, if you start shopping around for a loan, chances are you will take one of the offers and so your credit profile will change. Since the other lenders won’t know how it’ll change, that unknown makes you riskier.

Regardless of the reason, which is speculation on my part, the end result is the same: your score will go down with hard inquiries. Whether it’s a couple points or ten depends on your score today, but chances are it will go down. That’s why it’s important to get any unauthorized credit inquiries removed. A couple points can make a big different.

{ 30 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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30 Responses to “How to Remove Unauthorized Hard Inquiries”

  1. mikestreb says:

    This is a great idea. Has anyone had a positive outcome from something like this? I wonder how easy it is for these people to remove the inquiries.

  2. Curtis says:

    While hard inquiries can slightly hurt your credit score, it’s one of the last things I would worry about. After about 6 months, the effects of a hard inquiry on your report are reduced greatly, and after a year they are negligible. They disappear after two years. I consistently have a dozen or more inquiries on each of my credit reports, and my score is in the high 700s.

    For someone who is desperate for credit, removing unauthorized hard inquiries MIGHT help them out a bit in the short term (until legitimate inquiries pile up…). But if a person is that desperate, there’s probably other things they can do to have a larger (positive) impact on their credit score, such as paying off/disputing collection items, requesting credit line increases (some of which don’t require credit pulls), etc.

    For anyone who has a relatively decent score (>680), I wouldn’t even bother.

    • zapeta says:

      I agree, the hard inquiries are hardly worth worrying about in terms of score. However, if they are unauthorized it would probably be good to get them off of your credit report anyway just so its as accurate as possible.

      • Curtis says:

        I understand the argument, and certainly there’s no harm in removing them. But for me personally, I likely wouldn’t even bother, especially if it’s only one or a few. If there were more than 10 unauthorized items, then I might investigate to find out why my report is being pulled so much.

      • Chris says:

        I agree to remove it if it should not be there but how negligible is the effect?

    • Elaine says:

      I will argue that point. ONE unauthorized hard pull inquiry from ISP when I set up internet service dropped my mid-score FICO from 737 to 717 in two weeks (though my broker also pulled my report one other time during this time as well, not clear why since they last pulled two weeks prior).

      Trying to get it removed, costing me .5% of $300K loan if can’t. OUCH!

  3. lostAnnfound says:

    “Hard inquiries are bad for your credit because they are initiated when a lender is considering you for a loan. Other lenders assume that if you are asking for a loan, you need money. People who need money are riskier than people who don’t.”

    This almost sounds like a catch-22. If I have a good score & I want to get an auto loan, a hard inquiry from my CU for that purpose would put a ding in my score even though I am a good risk (score of 780 & husband is over 800).

  4. Mrs. Money says:

    This is such a great post. I work at a bank and sometimes we have people requesting this to happen. I’m going to print it and use it!

    • vanessa says:

      hi i saw your post and saw that you worked at a bank, i do as well and have the same issues do they forms work to get the credit inuiry removed?

  5. “Remove Inquiry Letter” That is great advice, and thanks for the contact info for the bureaus too.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  6. Ken says:

    One thing to note is that some banks do a hard credit pull when you apply for checking accounts and other deposit accounts. Also, some credit unions do a hard pull when you join.

  7. Izalot says:

    Pretty good advice. I’m on the fence though, whether to go through the trouble unless there were several hard inquiries.

  8. Shirley says:

    Thank you, Jim.
    I copied your sample letter to MS Word and saved it as a template (.dot).
    Though I may never need it, I know a young man who most likely will.

  9. BrianC says:

    EXCELLENT templates. I’m not sure it would necessarily be worth it in most cases, but nice to know that an effort can be made if needed.

  10. eric says:

    I did this for a family member and we just chose to do it online because it was easiest.

  11. Soccer9040 says:

    I just tried this online when I was disputing another item (my credit limit being reported on both my Chase cards) I’ll let you know what happens.

    It was AT&T who did the inquiry. I have Uverse from them, but that shouldnt warrant a hard pull for cable service. I never authorized it.

  12. Megan says:


    Just wanted to try to distinguish a few things here.

    First thing is that it’s actually harmful to your credit score if you have more than 7 or so inquiries, and I don’t believe the impact/import of having these on your report goes down any after 6 months; it’s only after 2 years that these hard inquiries are removed.

    Second is that while many credit inquiries are legitimate (when you request the credit you often sign in some form an authorization to check or inquiry (“ping”) your credit, and giving this authorization is especially easy to do and not realize doing if you go through the process online), it is also true that certain requests for your credit are unauthorized and both should and can be removed with a letter stating this.

    Unauthorized requests most often include those made by debt collectors or collection agencies. These are in no way authorized by you because the debt collector or collection agency bought your unpaid debt from the creditor for pennies on the dollar without your permission.

    While there likely was some form of legal agreement when you accepted the credit from the creditor that the creditor is authorized to sell the debt if it is not paid according to certain terms, this does not mean the debt collector or collection agency has authorization to check your credit.

    Moreover, if they do so, they can simply do it such that it does not appear publicly. As they are not extending you credit (and creditors extending credit ping your credit publicly as a way to ensure, as pinging was intended, that consumers do not overextend themselves), there is no purpose other than illegal intimidation for a debt collector or collection agency to check your credit such that this check is visible to other creditors. They (collection agencies or debt collectors) want negatively impact your credit score as a way to manipulate you into paying what they’re asking as soon as possible.

    Another instance in which you do want the inquiry removed is when creditors choose not to extend credit after publicly checking your credit as, depending on the number of inquiries you have, this can preclude you for two years from getting other credit with which to use and use to your advantage (I.e., to build up your credit report).

  13. Mandy says:

    I just had a bank a bank where I have a checking and savings account for years they pulled my credit without my consent for a credit card. I did not want a credit card from the bank and they pulled my credit to get meet their quota. Only one instance but they violate my my privacy it wasnt routine check. They did it purely greed

  14. Rhia says:

    I understand that many may not wish to deal with removal, if your credit isn’t effected to a significant degree. However, permitting people to illegally pull credit without recourse is acceptance of unsavory actions that shouldn’t be happening in the first place. The frivolous regard for one’s personal information shouldn’t be so easily over-looked, be it principle, legality, or basic work ethics. Personally, I’ve been disputing an inquiry for months now with a major provider, and have reached my limit of patience.
    If anyone knows of a the next course of action after letters, phone discussions, and hollow promises that they naively think I wont follow up on?? That would be Greatly appreciated : )

  15. Fausto says:

    I sent a letter to Dillards because my wife apply for a credit card there and i didnt consent it, and they replied me back saying that they wont remove the inquiry of the account. so i dont know what to do now!

  16. Food Lover says:

    Great information. I just found out a company called First American Credco make an unauthorized hard inquiry. I was upset not so much of the impact of the credit score. I was upset that a company made an unauthorized inquiry. I felt like someone entered my house without my consent. At least if someone enter my house without my permission, I can call the police and this person will go to jail. What can we do if a company make an unauthorized inquiry beside asking the company to remove it. I don’t think removing the inquiry is enough…

    • Rob says:

      I also have hard inquiries from Credco. I never consented to it and I’ve consistently been receiving emails and phone calls from auto dealers. Drives me nuts.

  17. Mike says:

    I sent collection company a certified letter asking them to remove the hard inquiry and if they would not, to justify it. They never responded.

    I sent a letter to Trans Union 40 days letter. Attached a copy of the letter sent to collection company. Trans Union never acted on it.

    I called Trans Union and they told me that they could not remove the hard inquiry unless the collection company removes it.

    Now what?

  18. Anonymous says:

    i own a business and everyone check mt credit vendors, bank, phone line, direct tv, bright house, and when u need a new car for your business bingo uyou get 5 personal more hard inquiries
    how as an business owner i can protect my personal credit.

  19. john says:

    This is very helpful. Thank you
    I have many unauthorized inquiries.
    My credit dropped 100 points.

  20. MM says:

    Just an FYI – there are typos in your first template.

  21. VF says:

    I’ve had success removing inquiries in the past. However, it’s been a while, so I’m not certain if this method still works. I send letters to the Equifax, Transunion and Experian detailing the specifics of each occurrance and claiming that they my credit was pulled as a prequalification for a major purpose.
    I’m not sure why, but I always have inquiries from my existing credit card companies, mortgage banks, car loan banks, etc… without applying for credit increases or credit of any type. I just looked up my credit today and found 20 inquiries in the last 2 years of which only 3 were actual credit applications.
    One time someone did try to apply for credit using my information and thankfully was unsuccessful, but I couldn’t remove the inquiry based on the reason of fraud. However, when I send my canned “prequalification for a major purchase” letter, they took it right off.
    Very strange, but whatever works.

  22. Rahman says:

    What is line number?

  23. Teresa says:

    Well according to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian they are no longer removing credit hard pulls because “They are just statements of facts that the credit was pulled”. I argued with all three that it dinged my credit and I didn’t authorize it and therefore according to the Issac’s law they must be removed and finally one told me that if I got a police report I could submit it and maybe they would remove it. This was even after speaking Supervisors and sent in letters of which the illegal pull was NOT removed. How can this be?

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