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Resolve to Review Your Credit Report this New Year
Reviewing your credit report is a simple and free resolution you can make to keep updated on your credit profile.
Reviewing your credit report is a simple and free resolution you can make to keep updated on your credit profile, and alert you to any erroneous, and/or suspicious activity that could be a sign of identity theft.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Each are required by law (The Fair Credit Reporting Act) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year. That means every four‐months you can make a request to one of the credit agencies. It’s a savvy way to track your information year‐round at no cost.
Go to annualcreditreport.com, call 1‐877‐322‐8228, or fill out/mail in the Annual Credit Report Request Form. This is the only authorized entity to provide the free credit reports under the law. Caution: There are other entities which claim to offer you a free credit report, but then result in fees after a brief trial period.
When making your credit report request, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. Online requests may give you immediate access to your report. However, requests by phone or mail can take 15 days or more.
Once you receive your report, review it carefully. If you discover any errors or find something in it that just doesn’t look right, report it immediately to the credit reporting agency. If you think you might be the victim of identity theft, ask to have a fraud alert placed on your file. You should also contact the business where credit was fraudulently opened in your name, as well as file a police report. For more detailed information, go to the Federal Trade Commission website.
As a side note, the report will not give you your credit score.
Knowing what is in your credit profile is important because it affects your ability to get a loan, get a job, or receive other services. Though it’s not a full‐proof way to prevent identity theft, reviewing your information can go a long way in helping you detect and put a stop to individuals using your good name.