Americans don't understand their credit scores, specifically the way they are calculated, and are possibly damaging their credit reports as a result, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll for Lexington Law, a credit repair service provider.

More than 2,000 adults age 18 and older were asked questions related to familiarity with credit scoring and the factors and information that influence scores. The poll was conducted in April.

While 63% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about their current credit score, a quarter (25%) of those who have a bad or fair credit score, said they are prevented from taking action because they don't know where to start.

A few other findings include:

•  45% are only somewhat familiar with what goes into their credit scores, and 14% say they're not familiar at all
•  21% are not sure what information appears on a credit report
•  41% are very concerned/concerned about their current credit scores
•  18% mistakenly believe that online purchases factor into credit score calculation  
•  18% mistakenly believe gender factors into credit score calculation
•  Of those who have a bad or fair credit score, 30% say they are prevented from fixing/taking action on their credit score because it is too expensive to fix it

"It turns out that the American public is even less informed regarding credit scores than we previously thought," said Dr. Randy Padawer, a psychologist and consumer advocate with Lexington Law. "If these scores didn't impact their lives in so many ways, from buying cars and homes to qualifying for employment and insurance, then perhaps our survey findings wouldn't be so alarming."

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