Your credit report is an important starting point for detecting fraud on your accounts. If an unauthorized account or an unusual change occurs, it will appear on your credit report first.
Federal law allows all consumers to monitor their credit report for free. You can request three free reports each year—one from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. And if you want to monitor your report all year long, experts advise to request one from a different agency every three months.
What Will My Credit Report Tell Me?
Your credit report paints a picture of your financial responsibility and history. For example, it tracks:
- If you pay your bills on time
- Your debt liabilities
- What types of accounts you hold in your name
This information can be valuable for creditors, employers, insurance agencies, rental companies and other businesses that are considering lending you money, insuring you or renting you a home.
Your credit report is used to calculate your credit score, and that score helps businesses decide whether lending you money, hiring you or approving your rental application is a risk worth taking. Your score can also impact loan rates and insurance premiums.
That’s why it’s so important that the picture of your credit standing that is painted by your credit report is an accurate one. By monitoring your credit report you can easily identify whether an account has been fraudulently opened and neglected using your name, SSN or credit card number—and how such an identity theft may have impacted your credit score. If you do find evidence of fraud or another error, you can dispute the item and request to have it removed from your report.
Order Your Free Credit Report
There are three ways to request your FREE report from the only authorized source:
- Visit www.annualcreditreport.com
- Call 1-877-322-8228
- Mail the Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
To get your free report, you must use one of the contact methods above. Do not contact the credit reporting agencies directly. However, you can get information on the three major credit reporting agencies, as well as additional info about credit reporting and fixing reports, by visiting the FDIC’s Consumer Response Center.
Additional Credit Report Resources
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) offers information on the Act’s provisions that give you the right to free credit reports.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Credit Reports
Q&A with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), including how to identify “imposter” websites that claim to offer free reports.