Incorrect positive information on credit report - do you have to dispute it?

Here’s an interesting legal/ethical question. Everyone knows that if you get a copy of your credit report and it includes false information, you can and should dispute it.

I’m not talking about minor things such as failure to report one day late (which I understand is very common), but substantial stuff such as a fully paid mortgage for someone whose never had a mortgage (i.e. it’s not even your account), or a “never late” remark on an account that you never paid a dime on in 10 years.

Is it legal and/or ethical to fail to report this, and let potential creditors evaluate you based on the false positive information, as long as you didn’t scheme to put the false info there or assert to the potential lender that you agree with your credit report?

I’d think that having false ACCOUNTS on your credit report, even if in a positive state, is dangerous in a practical sense (ignoring ethics and law) because payments on the account are beyond your control (e.g. if it’s actually someone else’s loan…) and you don’t know if it will go derogatory at any moment and trash you.

Bumping to see if anyone has any idea. Doper lawyers: Could applying for credit, knowing that there is false positive information on your credit report that YOU DID NOT CAUSE TO BE PLACED THERE be considered fraud?

I doubt it would be illegal to not correct a credit report so long as you do not sign any documents that attest to the report’s accuracy. Regardless, I would be more worried about identity theft in the case of accounts that you never had.

It is such a pain in the ass to try and get anything corrected, I can’t imagine it being illegal.

No. You are not required to comment on independent third party gossip about you. If a bank wishes to rely on third party information, it does so at its own risk.

I once requested a credit report and it came back to the affect that I did not exist. I made no attempt to correct it.