Consumers are now entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies due to a recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
There are several reasons why you should get a copy of your credit report. Your credit report has information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested or if you filed for bankruptcy. This information is used to evaluate your financial history and credit worthiness and affects whether you can get a loan, insurance, or even a job.
In addition, by obtaining a copy of your credit report you can help guard against identity theft. It is important to check the information for accuracy and unauthorized credit activity and to make sure that all the information is complete and up-to-date.
You can order your free annual credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
Federal law requires both consumer reporting agencies and the companies providing information about you to these agencies to correct any inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. Should you find any errors in your report, it is necessary to contact both the consumer reporting agency and the company providing the information you believe to be inaccurate in writing.
Your credit score is, unfortunately, not included in your credit report. You can, however, purchase your credit scores when you request your credit reports. You can expect to pay between four and eight dollars for your credit scores.
Once you have finished with your report, it is recommended that it is destroyed before disposal.