How to Check Your Credit Report for Free
While Avoiding the Scams!
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, will tell you that there is only one authorized website where you can request a free credit report under U.S. federal law. This is due to a recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requiring each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Many other websites claim to offer "free" credit reports, but may charge you for another product if you accept a "free" report. Don't be taken in by the scams of FreeCreditReport.com or others!
The only way to get your free annual credit report is by going through the FTC-mandated website: AnnualCreditReport.com. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, set up this website, where you can request a free credit report under U.S. federal law. Only this website allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months.
To request your free credit report at the approved website, click here, then on the page that comes up, select your state and click the red "request report button.
How to Stop Unwanted Credit Card Offers:
You may request that consumer credit reporting companies exclude your name from lists for pre-approved, unsolicited credit and insurance offers. Blocking credit card pre-approvals helps to prevent identity theft, especially if you are planning to move. The credit card companies continue to send out the pre-approvals to your old address even after you move. Identity thieves can take those forms out of your old mailbox and send them in. You can either opt out permanently or for five years. You can either call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or go to optoutprescreen.com.
Note that it doesn't stop all the offers: frequent flier cards and hotel reward cards aren't blocked.
You can also request your free credit report by telephone. Call toll free: 1-877-322-8228. Hearing impaired consumers can access their TDD service at 1-877-730-4104.
Credit Repair is also an area that is filled with scams. To find out more about see the Federal Trade Commission Credit Repair website.
For an excellent and entertaining object lesson about investing for the future, see this page!
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!