Credit Reports How to request your Credit Reports FREE annually from a site directed by the Federal Government

pasharain

(ง︡'-'︠)ง ♥ Quasher of Dead Links ♥
I like to believe that I am more organized than most, but my sister, Heidi (no not the Heidi of HCW fame), leaves me in the dust. She has been requesting her 3 free credit reports since the government instituted the law (like me, she has a legal background). On the other hand, as I write this, I am struggling to remember the last time I did? o_O

When freebie reports came into law, websites, credit cards and, unfortunately, criminals all set up ways to obtain them. While some alternative routes to obtaining your reports are legit, when dealing with handing over sensitive information, like your Social Security Number, you should be absolutely sure who you are communicating with.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site explicitly directed by Federal law to provide you with a free copy of all 3 of your reports every 12 months. Not everyone realizes that if you have credit, you have 3 separate reports that can differ from one another, so it is important to obtain all three. The 3 credit companies that collect your information are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.


Why do credit reports matter? They can impact your life in the following ways:
  • If you buy a home, they will influence the mortgage interest rate you are offered;
  • If you buy a car, they will influence the loan interest rate you are offered;
  • If you apply for a credit card, they not only influence the interest rate you are offered, but can mean the difference between obtaining the card and being denied;
  • Many apartment complexes and insurance companies use this information to determined whether they will welcome you; and
  • Some employers also check your credit history to gage what type of employee they think you will be.
What should I do once I have the reports?* Check for:

Identity errors
  • Errors made to your identity information (wrong name, phone number, address)
  • Accounts belonging to another person with the same or a similar name as yours (this mixing of two consumers’ information in a single file is called a mixed file)
  • Incorrect accounts resulting from identity theft
Incorrect reporting of account status
  • Closed accounts reported as open
  • You are reported as the owner of the account, when you are actually just an authorized user
  • Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent
  • Incorrect date of last payment, date opened, or date of first delinquency
  • Same debt listed more than once (possibly with different names)
Data management errors
  • Reinsertion of incorrect information after it was corrected
  • Accounts that appear multiple times with different creditors listed (especially in the case of delinquent accounts or accounts in collections)
Balance Errors
  • Accounts with an incorrect current balance
  • Accounts with an incorrect credit limit
If you find errors, you should contact the credit reporting company who sent you the report, and the creditor or company that provided the information (called the “furnisher” of the information). Your credit report includes directions about how to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information, or you can use the sample dispute letters found on the consumerfinance.gov website: For furnishers and credit reporting companies.

*Everything below the asterisk was taken from the consumerfinance.gov website. Prior to it, Ashley Swanner, writer.
 
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