It seems like summer only just started, but sure enough, we’ve already reached back to school season. This is also a good time to remind you about another important aspect of all of our lives – credit reports.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Here is a link to the Federal Trade Commission website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports
To get your credit report online visit this site: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action Click on request your free credit report.
Since you get 1 report each year from each reporting company my suggestion is to spread them out during the year. For example, request Equifax in January, Experian in May, and TransUnion in September. That way you can see any changes made throughout the year.
If you would rather make the request by mail , print and complete the attached Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Again, I would print 3 copies and make separate requests throughout the year.
Review each report for inaccuracies or incomplete information and follow the supplied instructions on how to get these corrected.
Another suggestion – as a way to prevent fraud you can put a “freeze” on your credit report. This helps deter anyone who might try to open a credit card or take a loan in your name. Here is a good article explaining the process. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
Lastly, as another precaution I suggest you setup “alerts” on all your bank accounts and credit cards. You can set parameters, such as any charge/withdrawal over a certain $ amount and receive an email and/or text message. While this will not prevent an incorrect item from hitting your account, it will alert immediately that you should contact the bank/credit card. Here is an article that provides good information. http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-alerts-cellphone-1273.php
As always, please call me if you have any questions on this information.