The Fair Credit Reporting Law gives you the right to get a credit report from every credit bureau each year at no cost. This was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission to empower individuals to monitor their credit profile for mistakes and misuse. It is useful understand how to receive free credit reports and to exercise your rights.
What's In a Credit Report
Your credit report incorporates personal information on you and your financial activities. It notes previous addresses, credit cards and loans, and financial judgments against you such as a law suit or bankruptcy filing. Credit reports are referenced by lenders, employers, insurers, and the like to determine your likelihood to honor a new debt. It is thus very important to ensure that your information is accurate.
How Can I Get a Copy of My Credit Report
There are 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Each can contain slightly varying sets of facts on you. They also measure scores using unique methods. There is a combined website at annualcreditreport.com where you can request an update on your credit reports. You can also call them at 1-877-322-8228 or print and mail the request form from their website. You must give your name, date of birth, social security, and current and past addresses to confirm your identity.
Other Website Options
There are a wide range of alternate websites that gather reports from specific credit agencies and review credit activity. They apprise you of certain activity in your report (such as the credit score being requested or new accounts being created). This will help you manage your score between receiving the full reports every 12 months and alerting you to any acts of fraud.
CreditKarma.com is one website that provides no-cost service and will not even ask you for a credit card. Many other websites are marketed as free but eventually charge a fee after an initial month, so be aware of the terms when signing up. Also be aware of fake websites that take advantage of frequent mis-typing of urls. These websites may be set up to grab your private information.
Summary of How To Receive Free Credit Reports
Now that you understand the advantage of regularly reviewing credit reports and how to receive free credit reports, it's time to take action. Request a copy of your report and inspect it carefully. Contact the credit bureaus to correct errors. For more serious issues, consider contacting a credit repair specialist for assistance. This information is intended merely as an introduction and must not be considered legal advice.