Starting Out On Your Own, Managing Your Finances
Review Your Credit Report Regularly to Catch Identity Fraud Threats
Date:08 February, 2021
There is no reason to fear a credit check if you know what is waiting in your report. That’s why we recommend making a habit of monitoring your credit report and addressing issues as they arise. This will help to safeguard your credit against attempts to steal your financial identity or establish fraudulent credit in your name.
The three largest credit reporting agencies—*Experian®, TransUnion®, and Equifax®—collect and provide information on most consumers’ borrowing status for both open & closed accounts. This information is stored up to 7 years from the closed date if there is any negative information in the account's history and up to 10 years if there is no negative information in the account's history. Your consumer credit report provides a summary of how you handle your credit accounts/debts, including the types of accounts, your payment history, and certain other details about you. The information comes from several sources, including:
- Financial Institutions
- Mortgage Companies
- Credit Card Companies
- Collection Agencies
- Governmental Bodies
Potential lenders use credit reports to help decide whether to offer you credit—and on what terms. The reports may also help others, such as potential employers or landlords, to determine whether to offer you a job or a lease, as well as insurance companies and other service providers for similar purposes. If a scammer were to steal your personal information and open a loan or credit card in your name, it would be up to you to get that cleared before it ruins your chances of getting the credit you actually need.
Consumers can receive a copy of their credit reports from each of the three credit agencies once a year at no charge. You can request and receive the free reports by visiting the **AnnualCreditReport.com website. You can also request the reports by phone at 1-877-322-8228. This is the only government-authorized program for this service, so you will not receive solicitations by email, telemarketing, or direct mail to buy additional products.
Receive Additional Reports Due to COVID-19
The FTC reports that starting in 2020, everyone in the U.S. can get six free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or calling 866-349-5191. Additionally, since accessing your credit report has become increasingly important during the financial hardships of COVID-19, you can also get free weekly online reports through April 2021 at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Carefully Review Your Credit Report
You will want to thoroughly read through all of the items listed in the credit reports you receive. Each agency’s report will look somewhat different as they source information from many outlets. If you find that something is inaccurate or unfair, you can take steps to correct it, or at least record your side of the story to attach to your file.
Pro Tip! Experian offers this helpful list of ways to dispute issues with your credit report. Read the article HERE.
If a creditor has provided false or inaccurate information, you can write to that company and insist the record be amended. If you see unusual items in your report that you do not recognize, contact the credit agencies immediately.
*Copyright © 2021 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. Experian and the Experian trademarks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian.
Copyright © 2021 TransUnion LLC. All Rights Reserved Copyright 2021.
Copyright © 2021 Equifax Inc. All rights reserved. Equifax and the Equifax marks used herein are trademarks of Equifax, Inc.
**Copyright © 2021 Central Source, LLC