I get lots of questions about Credit Reports, so I have put together a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- DO request a copy of your credit report from each of the four agencies at least once each year. It’s free!
- DON’T respond to any emails from the credit reporting agencies – these are sent out by fraudsters.
- DO be careful which site you go to. Only use to the following site to request your free reports: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
- DON’T fall for copycat websites. They are created by businesses that will try to sell you other services or they could be proxy sites that are trying to get your confidential information.
- DO request that the credit reporting companies exclude your name from lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
Finally, consider freezing your credit. A Credit Freeze may prevent new creditors and other third parties from accessing your report and thus is effective against new credit accounts being opened in your name – but it will not stop someone from using your existing accounts or from opening accounts at places that do not check credit first. A Credit Freeze will make getting ‘instant credit’, like a store card, impossible. For planned purchases, it is relatively easy to thaw your report temporarily. Both the freezing and the thawing can be done on the credit reporting company’s website. Lastly, there are four credit reporting companies. You would need to freeze your report at all four companies. If you are married, you would both freeze your report at all four companies. Yes, it is work – and it costs $10 each time you freeze or thaw – but it works!
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