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Deceptive credit reporting earns Mississippians free credit reports for 3 years

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Major credit reporting agencies are in hot water after being accused of deceptive credit reporting. Following an investigation, those agencies are now being forced to shell out millions.

For Mississippians, the deal means unlimited free credit reports for the next three years.

Battling bad credit can be tough, and if your credit score gets a black eye, it can be hard to recover from — but not impossible, especially now.

"I ruined my credit a long time ago when I was a teenager, but it’s important to know, because you can’t get nothing these days," said Gloria Cox, who is trying to rebuild her credit score.

Cox knows all too well the pitfalls of trying to build a future with far-from-ideal credit.

"It’s hard to get a car, it’s hard to get a place, it’s even hard to get a job," said Cox. "I’m in the process of trying to rebuild it right now."

She’s rebuilding on the heels of credit agencies like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax taking a $7 million hit for being accused of disregarding the best interest of Mississippians. As a result, Mississippians like Cox will no longer have to purchase credit reports for three years.

"If you’re trying to buy a home, trying to get insurance, if you are getting higher interest rates," said Wanda Kohns.

Kohns is the vice president of financial program services at Family Service Agency, a credit counseling service that serves parts of Mississippi. She’s says endless reports opens a gateway to opportunity.