The information in your credit report is used to evaluate your application for credit, insurance, employment, and renting a home. Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, whether you have been sued or arrested, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy.
Lenders, insurance companies, landlords, and more will use your credit report to decide if they want to work with you. This is why it’s important to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date. Monitoring your credit report is also important to spot signs of identity theft.
Do you know what’s in your credit report?
Your Right to a Free Credit Report
Every consumer is granted the right to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies under the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, which amended the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The goal of these laws is to make sure consumers are informed, treated fairly, and given the chance to identify and fight identity theft.
Along with a free report once a year, you are also entitled to a free credit report if:
- A company has taken adverse action against you, such as denying an application for credit, insurance, or employment,
- You are unemployed and want to look for work in the next 60 days,
- You are on welfare,
- Your report has mistakes due to fraud or identity theft.
You have the right to get a free copy of your credit report, once every 12 months, from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The three nationwide credit reporting companies set up a web site, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order your free credit report:
Call 877-322-8228, or
Mail a request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
When you request your credit reports, you can choose to get them all at once, or one at a time. Some consumers choose to get one credit report at a time to monitor for signs of identity theft and get a broader idea of their credit over time. Keep in mind the credit reports across the three bureaus will be different, as creditors are not required to report to all three bureaus, and most report only to the bureau with which they have a business relationship.
What You Need to Obtain Your Free Credit Report
You will need to provide your:
- Social Security number, and
- Date of birth.
Each credit reporting agency will also ask you questions to maintain the security of your credit information. These questions are multiple choice and may ask you the amount of your monthly mortgage payment or an address at which you have lived.
Beware of Impostor Websites
Only www.AnnualCreditReport.com is authorized to take orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under federal law. Any other website that promises a free credit report, credit score, or credit monitoring is not a part of the legally mandated program. In some cases, the “free” report or product may also come with strings attached. If you have to provide your credit or debit card information at all, the service is not free, and you are most likely enrolling in a free trial period for a subscription service.
How Often Should You Check Your Credit Report?
It is crucial that you check your credit report at least once a year to correct errors and to detect unauthorized activity. Once again, the information in your credit report affects whether or not you get a loan, and it determines your interest rate when you do get a loan. The information also affects insurance, renting a home, and even getting a job. Therefore, you want to make sure the information in your credit report is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan or a credit card, before you apply for a job, before you apply for insurance, and before you submit a rental application. Finally, monitoring your credit report will help guard against identity theft.
Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for help receiving a copy of your free credit report. More importantly, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for help disputing inaccurate information in your credit report. We have helped thousands of consumers. We would like to help you, too.