Free Credit Report
The only official site to get your free annual credit report allowed by law is www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also call 877-322-8228.
This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Free credit reports requested online at this site are viewable immediately upon authentication of identity. Free credit reports requested by phone or mail will be processed within 15 days of receiving your request.
Many companies claim to offer free credit reports – and some do. But others give you a report only if you buy other products or services. Still others say they’re giving you a “free” report and then bill you for services you have to cancel. If you go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com and follow the prompts for your free credit report, you can be sure the reports you get really are free.
Why you need to check your credit report annually
Because the information in your credit report is used to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and renting a home, you should be sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. In addition, monitoring your credit is one of the best ways to spot identity theft. Check your credit report at least once a year to correct errors and detect unauthorized activity.
About your credit score
A credit score is a complex mathematical model that evaluates many types of information in a credit file. A credit score is used by a lender to help determine whether a person qualifies for a particular credit card, loan, or service. Most credit scores estimate the risk a company incurs by lending a person money or providing them with a service –– specifically, the likelihood that the person will make payments on time in the next two to three years. Generally, the higher the score, the less risk the person represents.
The free annual credit report DOES NOT include your credit score.
You will be given an opportunity to purchase a credit score from any of the nationwide credit reporting agencies after you receive your free annual credit report from any of them in response to a request made through website above.
A note of caution about Credit Repair companies
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions consumers to be wary of companies that make claims regarding credit repair. These companies, commonly called credit clinics, don't do anything for consumers that consumers cannot do for themselves at little or no cost. Beware of any organization that offers to create a new identity and credit file for you. The FTC and state attorneys general have filed actions against those who pursue these fraudulent practices. Here are some warning signs that the FTC and others say consumers should look out for to determine if they might be dealing with a credit clinic:
- An organization that guarantees to remove late payments, bankruptcies, or similar information from a credit report
- An organization that charges a lot of money to repair credit
- A company that asks the consumer to write to the credit reporting company and repeatedly seek verification of the same credit account information in the file, month after month, even though the information has been determined to be correct
- An organization that is reluctant to give out their address or one that pushes you to make a decision immediately
Information is from ftc.gov and annualcreditreport.com.