Hard inquiries can only be removed from your credit report if proven to be fraudulent or erroneous. Otherwise, hard inquiries will remain on your credit report for two years and could affect your credit score for up to 12 months.
Your first order of business should be to evaluate the authenticity of all recent inquiries listed on your credit report. Just bear in mind there are a number of reasons why you might not recognize a perfectly legitimate inquiry, whether it’s because you unknowingly authorized a car dealer to rate-shop on your behalf, for instance, or because a creditor used a third-party service to perform its credit check.
As a result, the best approach is to use the contact information provided for each inquirer on your report to see if additional context jogs your memory and ultimately determine whether each inquiry is genuine. You can check your latest TransUnion credit report, updated daily, by signing up for a free WalletHub account. You will also receive free 24/7 credit monitoring, which will alert you to any new inquiries on your credit report, thus serving as an early-warning system for suspicious activity.
If you ultimately believe a hard inquiry is either inaccurate or fraudulent, we recommend filing a formal dispute with the credit bureaus whose reports are affected. You cannot dispute soft inquiries, but since these inquiries have no effect on your credit score, you should not worry about their presence on your report.
To learn more about dealing with unauthorized inquiries, please consult our guide on the matter.