You can dispute any erroneous item on your credit report. If the item you’re disputing is something that was never yours (either there by mistake or due to identity theft) then the credit report agency (CRA) showing this error has 30 days to investigate.

This investigation includes contact with the data provider that supplied this information. After the data provider responds to the investigation, the CRA will update your report. If the data provider doesn’t respond within 30 days of the date the CRA received your request, then the CRA will update or delete the item as you requested. (For Maine residents, the limit is 21 days instead of 30.)

On the other hand, if there are negative items on your report that you think should be removed, know that they can still stay on your report for several years. The amount of time depends on the item.

Late payments, for example, can remain on your report for seven years. Bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for seven or 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed. You can find more information here on how long each negative item can be listed.

Want to know more? Read here to find out more about what you can dispute on a credit report.