Were you aware that you can get your credit report for free?
It’s a fact!
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the three major companies which collect and disseminate credit information which are used by sellers and lenders to ascertain your credit worthiness are required to provide one free copy of your credit report every 12 months.
You might wonder why you want to even get one credit report, much less all three.
Well, there are three good reasons.
First, all three credit reporting agencies; Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, collect and publish different data ABOUT YOU from different sources. What is on one company’s report may not be on another’s. In any case, ANY of the data may be wrong!!
Second, if there is incorrect data on your personal credit report, you cannot know that it is there and needs to be removed unless you see the report(s) yourself.
You need to know about it and remove it because, in the third place, any time you go to finance a major purchase, get a loan, or ask for credit of any kind, whether you are approved, and how much that extension of credit will cost you, i.e. interest. Whether you pay 4% or 24% in interest will be dependent upon what your various credit reports have to say about you.
Why not just get one report?
As mentioned above, each report may have different information relevant to your credit history. Additionally, however, each potential creditor may use one, two, or all three reports to determine whether or not to grant you credit.
Another factor is that many potential employers will first run a credit report on you before offering you a job.
A couple of years ago, I applied to company I was interested in working with. Nothing came of it, and I went to work with another organization. However, the first company sent me a copy of the report they had received. The first item on the report caught my eye because it showed my address as being that of a Dallas nightclub. Actually, while moving, I had opened a temporary post office box at a UPS store in a strip mall which shared the street address with the nightclub. However, the preparers of the report noted that the address could not be valid as a residence and was that of a strip club!
Getting your free annual credit report is relatively simple…and each of us has our own definition of “simple”.
Probably, the simplest way is to go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
This is the ONLY government-authorized website where you can go to request this service. They do not send you emails requesting information or place pop-ups on other websites, and, if you see one of those, it is probably a scam and/or an incidence of “phishing”…someone trying to get your identity data for their use.
You can claim your annual free credit report by phone, by mail, or through the Annual Credit Report website. Do not use any other link, by the way, than the one above. It is the only valid link and any other may take you to a false website. FreeCreditScore.Com
You can also claim your report directly by phone or mail from the credit reporting agencies themselves. You will, of course, get the most immediate response by going through the Annual Credit Report link above, but, should you wish to contact the credit reporting agencies directly for your report, you can reach them at the addresses and phone numbers below:
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
866 200 6020
(Call for your report or use AnnualCreditReport link above.)
Best Bet: Go through the Annual Credit Report link.
YOU MAY ALSO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE CREDIT REPORTS AT OTHER TIMES
1. If a company takes adverse action, such as denying employment, credit, or insurance based on a credit report you have 60 days to request a free report. You should receive a notice from the company involved as to the credit reporting company they used to make the determination.
2. If you are:
*Unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days
*If you are on welfare
*If your report is false due to fraud, including identity theft
If you are not presently eligible for a free credit report, they only cost around $10 each at the time I am writing this. Many people are afraid they will be hard to get and expensive, but that is not the truth. FreeCreditScore.Com
INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE
Of course, you will need your name (obvious), address, and social security number. If you have moved within the last couple of years, an agency may ask for your previous address(es). Each credit reporting company will probably ask for some information you alone should know, such as the amount of your mortgage payment.
Donovan Baldwin is a 65-year-old amateur bodybuilder, freelance writer, certified optician, and Internet marketer currently living in the Atlanta, Gerogia area. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he has been a member of Mensa and has been a Program Accountant for the Florida State Department of Education, the Business Manager of a community mental health center, and a multi-county Fiscal Consultant for an educational field office. He has also been a trainer for a major international corporation, and has managed various small businesses, including his own. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, with 21 years of service, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes original articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He offers a line of do-it-yourself legal software at http://legalhelp.xtramoney4me.net.