You should dispute hard inquiries that are not associated with applications for credit that you made because hard inquiries bring down your credit score and unauthorized inquiries could indicate that you are a victim of identity theft.
What is a hard inquiry? A hard inquiry is a record in your credit file (that appears on your credit report) showing that you applied for credit. That includes credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages (among other forms of credit). When you apply for credit, the potential creditor pulls your credit file (requests a consumer report about you) from one or more of the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Some creditors pull your credit from one bureau. Others — particularly mortgage lenders — generally review consumer reports about you from each of the big three.
Whenever you review your credit reports (Sherman & Ticchio strongly recommends that you do so several times a year), you should make sure that all hard inquiries in fact relate to credit applications by you. Why? Because hard inquires that you did not authorize are impermissible. Impermissible pulls of your credit are unlawful pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Not only do unauthorized hard inquiries bring down your credit score (all hard inquiries do that), but impermissible hard inquiries can also indicate that someone — an identity thief — is attempting to obtain credit in your name.
Legitimate hard inquiries — hard inquiries you authorized — are normal and do not requires action by you. Unauthorized hard inquiries, however, are a different story.
Unauthorized hard inquiries (a/k/a impermissible pulls) on one or more of your credit reports should set off alarm bells in your head. If you find what you believe are unauthorized hard inquiries on a credit report, you should contact a reputable consumer credit law firm to help you (a) decipher your credit reports, (b) dispute unauthorized hard inquiries directly to each credit bureau that is reporting them, and (c) decide whether to place heightened security measures, such as a credit freeze, on your credit file(s). Most good consumer lawyers are members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates or NACA. Contact Sherman & Ticchio to learn more.