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Yours for the Asking

Say the word “free,” and most people are eager to take advantage of the offer.  Federal law gives everyone the right to a free credit report annually from each of the three reporting services.  This is one offer that comes with no strings attached and may save you time and expense in the future.

To obtain a copy of your credit report, you can go to annualcreditreport.com or go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website (consumer.ftc.gov).  You can also call 877-322-8228 (toll free).  There are other sites that may offer “free” credit reports, but these often try to sell you credit monitoring services that you may not want.

Why is an annual credit check up important?  It could alert you to unauthorized credit cards or loans that have been taken out in your name, giving you the opportunity to correct the reports before damage can be done.  Rather than requesting a report from all three services - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - at the same time, a better option is to rotate your requests, getting a report every four months, allowing you to challenge inaccurate information on a more timely basis.  If you do notice erroneous entries on one report, it’s important to contact all three services to have corrections made.


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