Talk with an attorney
Consulting an attorney doesn't always mean pursuing a lawsuit. Sometimes all you need is a letter on legal stationery to make a creditor review the records.
If, despite your best efforts, the creditor or collector is keeping old debt on your report, an attorney can also advise you as to whether a lawsuit is a good option.
If you do elect to talk with an attorney, choose one who specializes in consumer rights, says Smith-Valentine. "When you're dealing with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is very convoluted, and you need someone who's done it, who understands it and who knows where the holes are."
One source for help is the National Association of Consumer Advocates, an organization of lawyers who specialize in credit and debt law.