Senator James L. Seward today said that consumers will be able to get free credit reports once per year beginning September 1, 2005.
"Because of changes in the law, each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is now required to provide people with free copies of their credit reports once every 12 months, on request," Seward said. "People should take advantage of this important opportunity to check their records."
Seward noted that credit reports are important records of a person's financial history, and that knowing its contents can be helpful. Credit information is often sold to creditors, insurers, lenders, employers and other businesses that use the information to evaluate a person's application for a credit card, employment or lending. The information can also guard against identity theft.
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies -- Equifax, Experian and Trans Union -- have established one central toll free number, mailing address and website through which a person can order his free annual report. Consumers can order their reports from each of the three companies at the same time, or from one or two. The law allows people to order one free copy from each company each 12 months.
By telephone, consumers may call 1-877-322-8228. On the web, a report may be ordered online through www.annualcreditreport.com . To order by mail, download a request form from www.ftc.gov/credit and mail it to "Annual Credit Report Request Service," P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
"I urge people to take advantage of this opportunity and plan for the future," Seward said.