The best way to get debt information is to retrieve a copy of your records from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You are now allowed to request one free copy a year. At other times you must have been denied credit to get a copy, or you must pay a small fee.
Send a written request to each of the bureaus. You can do this by postal mail. Include your full name and social security number. You can also contact the bureaus online for more information on each credit bureau's policies and procedures. They may allow you to print out a copy online after you have proven your identity.
Once you have the copy, go through all of the information listed on the report. Check the name of each of your creditors, the company address, your former addresses, employment information, and so on. If anything is incorrect, contact the credit bureau which sent you the incorrect report. Then go through the list of debts owed.
Compare each debt listed on the report to your own personal records. If there is any debt you do not recognize, haven't seen before, or understand, send the credit bureau a notice by postal mail. Older debts (ones which have been owed for a year or more) are often sold to collection agencies and you may see a company name you don't recognize. The report should show the original creditor; if it doesn't, you'll need to contact the collection agency to find out this information and to verify that the debt is actually yours. Debts that have been turned over to a collection agency will sometimes be listed on your credit report as being owed to both the original creditor and the collection agency, making it look like a debt has been reported two times. This can be corrected by contacting the credit bureau directly; they'll verify that the debt is only owed once and will remove one of the reports. If you are not familiar with a company name, compare the dollar amounts to your records. You may be able to identify them this way - if not, contact the reporting bureau for more information.
The credit bureaus usually enclose a form for you to fill out when making corrections. If there is one, complete it and send it back to them. Use additional pages if necessary. The credit bureaus should send you a copy of your corrected report within a reasonable amount of time. Request a copy if they don't send it.
Do not sign up with any intermediate company. There are several companies online that try to lure you in by offering you a copy of all three of your reports. Be very careful, as you may unknowingly sign up for a monthly service that you do not need. They will begin drawing monthly payments from your bank account. It's best to not take any chances on these companies. Deal only with the credit bureaus themselves and you won't have to worry about being scammed.