Free Annual Credit Report. Why You Must Get Yours.
If you are thinking about making any large purchases such as furniture or a vehicle or home, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report beforehand. Depending on what is listed on your credit report, it can help you or hurt you when attempting to obtain credit. There may be errors or false information listed on your report that you are not aware of and that will deter any financers from allowing you credit with their companies.
Another reason to obtain your credit report is to prevent Identity Theft. You have most likely heard that the widely-publicized Identity Theft issue is an increasing problem in this country. By giving out your personal information either online or over the telephone, you are opening yourself up for possible identity theft which can destroy your credit and takes years to rectify. There are a lot of scammers out there posing as popular, respectable merchants asking you for personal information that the bona fide company would never ask you for. Make sure you are shopping with a reputable dealer and know what information they are allowed to ask for or not so that you can protect yourself. A good tip for online shopping is that a secure website, one that is more likely not to be interfered with starts with https:. The “s” at the end of the HTTP lets you know that it is a secure website. Look for that when shopping online or doing business with online banking or bill pay.
It is imperative that you know what has been reported regarding your entire credit history. Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian are the three major agencies most commonly used by merchants to report your payment history. All three of these agencies have their own websites that you can go to and request a copy of your credit report. Sometimes there is a small fee to obtain your credit report, but it varies by state. You can also dispute items online at those sites. Depending on the reporting company and which agency it has been reporting to, it may take some time to fix any errors, but it is well worth the effort to assist you in cleaning up your credit report and getting you back in good standing.
There was a law passed that enables everyone to receive one free copy of their credit report per year. The official site to order a copy of your report from is AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, if you have received a letter stating that you have been denied credit, submitting that letter will allow you to obtain a free copy of your report, even if you have already received your free annual copy.