Do you know what’s in your credit report? By law, the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) must tell you everything in your credit report including a list of everyone who has requested your credit report in the last year (or two years if the requests are related to employment). You are entitled to a FREE report once every 12 months. Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report — annualcreditreport.com.
Beware of Imposters
Other websites that offer free credit reports, free credit scores, or free credit monitoring are not part of the legally mandated program. Some of these websites may try to capture your personal information or try to charge you an annual fee after a “trial” period. Make sure you steer clear of these impostors.
Be aware that annualcreditreport.com or any of the credit reporting agencies will NOT send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or the other credit agencies DO NOT RESPOND. It’s probably a scam. Forward any email or other information to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Should I Review My Credit?
You should get a copy of the free report each year to make sure all the information the credit reporting agencies have is accurate. A clean credit report is instrumental in getting the best terms on a loan. Prospective employers often pull credit to ensure a candidate is trustworthy and responsible with money. It’s also the best way to guard against identity theft. Inaccurate credit history can really wreck havoc with your life.
Who Can I Contact and What Do I Tell Them?
Your free report can be obtained at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. You can also complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form. In order to receive your report you will have to provide some personal information: Name, Address, Social Security Number, and Date of Birth. If you have moved in the past two years then expect to provide your previous address. They may also ask you to provide information only you would know, such as your monthly mortgage payment. This is for verification purposes only.
What is FICO Score?
Each credit reporting agency provides you with a credit score based on factors such as your bill-paying history, the number and types of accounts you have, late payments, collection actions, and the age of your accounts. Each agency has their own statistical formula to calculate your particular FICO number. This number helps creditors predict how creditworthy you are. Perfect credit is 850, but anything above 750 is considered above average.
Your FICO score is not necessarily part of your annual free credit report. You can check your FICO score using our PreFlight option at your own expense, or contact Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion directly. For more information about what you can expect regarding credit, check out the cfpb website. [fb_button]