Free 3 Credit Reports
With identity theft on the rise, it is important to get copies of your free 3 Credit Reports each year. A good way to be consistent is to check your credit reports at the beginning of ever year.
If you look online you will find many companies that will charge a fee for you to access your credit reports, credit scores, and offer monthly credit monitoring. While these are all great options, we are all entitled to one free report each year. If you would like your scores too, you will have to pay additional fees.
If you are comfortable accessing your reports online, you can gain instant access at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you are more comfortable accessing your reports by mail you can call each agency directly to receive them within 15 days.
The 3 bureaus you will be accessing information from are:
- Trans Union
Whether you are calling or accessing your information online, you should be prepared to provide personal information to verify your identity. You will need to provide information such as
- Social security number.
- Present or former employer.
- Present or former lines of credit.
- Present or past addresses.
What To Look For on Your 3 Free Credit Reports
Once you have obtained the copies of your 3 free credit reports, you want to confirm that all information is correct. Here is what you want to look for:
- Is your current address correct?
- Is your current employer information correct? If you have recently started a new job your reports may have not been updated.
- Are all of the open lines of credit correct? This will include credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and accounts in collection.
- Are all closed lines of credit correct? This will include any closed credit cards and debts that have been paid off. These will remain on your credit report for 7-11 years.
- Are all matters of public record correct? This will include things like bankruptcy, liens, past due child support.
- Have you authorized all credit inquires that are present? You must give written consent to authorize anyone to check your credit. This could include your insurance company, cell phone provider, employer, or a lender you have applied with.
Why Don’t All 3 Free Credit Reports Show The Same Information?
It is not uncommon to find slight differences on your credit reports. This is because not all creditors or businesses making inquires, utilize all three bureaus. For example, you might have an inquiry for rental history that shows up on Experian, but not on Tran Union or Equifax. Or maybe you have a student loan you are paying that only shows up on Equifax and Trans Union, but not Experian. Neither of these scenarios are cause for concern, but may result in each of your credit scores being slightly different.
What If There Is A Problem On my Report
If something on one of your 3 free credit reports is inaccurate you want to act immediately to ensure that you are not a victim of identity theft. Take these steps:
- Call the creditor directly if incorrect information is being reported. Sometimes it is a clerical error that can be cleared up quickly. If a creditor has made an error they will make the adjustment and send the updates to the appropriate bureau. Document every phone call and keep copies of all information you are asked to provide.
- File a dispute with each credit bureau. You can do this online or over the phone.
- If the discrepancies on your reports look as though someone has stolen your identity, immediately go to the FTC website, where you will get the help you need to determine if you need to place a fraud alert on your account or do a full security freeze.