In 2003 the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act was passed, giving you the right to get one free credit report a year from each of the three reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
How To Get Your Free Credit Report
To order your free credit report, you can call 1-877-322-8228 or visit AnnualCreditReport.com, which was set up by the three agencies in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission.
Don’t try to get a report from any other website, as many are scams that offer “free” reports, scores and other services that really have fine print. These “free” services have trial periods that automatically switch to paid services without alerting you. Other sites only want to collect your personal information. Please be careful and type in the address correctly. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site.
Besides once every 12 months, you also have the right to get a free credit report if you’re denied a loan, employment or anything else based on your credit score. The organization denying you a loan or employment is legally obligated to tell you which credit bureau it used to get your score. Then you submit a credit denial letter within 60 days to the respective bureau to receive your free credit report.
You can also buy a copy of your credit report at any time by visiting each of the bureau’s websites.
What To Look For On Your Credit Report
Accurate information: You’re basically looking to see if all of the information listed is accurate. If you’ve never missed a payment, does the free credit report show that? Is your address correct?
Current information: Most late payments can only be listed on your credit history for seven years (with the exception of bankruptcy filings). You can dispute the information older than seven years and get it removed.
Fraudulent activity: You can find signs of identity theft when you check your report, too. One sign of fraudulent activity includes listed accounts that don’t belong to you. Also, in the inquiries section, there are companies that checked your credit that you never had an interaction with.
If you find errors, contact the credit bureau immediately to dispute the information.
For more information about your free credit report, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.