How to Get Your Free Credit Report
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act) entitles you to receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The three companies have set up one central website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address. You can request your free report either online, by phone or even mail by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.
Should Consumers Order All Their Credit Reports at Once or Space Them Out Over 12 Months?
It is entirely your choice whether you order all three credit reports at the same time or order one now and others later. If you request all three at the same time, you can compare them, however you won’t be eligible for another free report for 12 months. On the other hand, if you space them out, (for example, requesting one report every four months), you can keep track of any changes or new information that may appear on your report. If you order from only one company today you can still order from the other two companies in the future.
Consumer Alert! Beware of Ads Claiming "Free" Credit Reports
Many other websites claim to offer “free credit reports, free credit scores, or free credit monitoring.” But, be careful. Their claims of “free” are not always no cost. These sites are not part of the official, government-mandated annual free credit report program. In most cases, these sites will provide you with a free credit report and score, and they will attempt to enroll you in some type of credit monitoring or protection service. Before signing up for such a service, do your research and determine if it’s something that you really need. The Federal Trade Commission has received complaints from consumers who thought they were ordering a free annual credit report, but instead paid hidden fees or agreed to unwanted services. Don’t be fooled by misleading TV ads, e-mail offers, or online search results.
Other Situations That Warrant Getting a Free Credit Report
Under federal law, you may be entitled to a free credit report if a company takes “adverse action” against you such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment, based on information in the report. In addition, other circumstances include unemployment, receiving welfare benefits, and any report of fraud (including identity theft).
Is it Important to Review Your Credit Report Frequently?
Yes, absolutely! The information in a person’s credit report is used to evaluate applications for credit, loans, insurance, and employment. Therefore, making sure that your information on your credit report is accurate and up-to-date is very important.
It may be helpful to go over your credit report with one of our financial wellness counselors. Call us to get started today.