Monitoring your credit history is one of the best ways to protect against identity theft. You can get one free credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request all three reports at once (during your birth month or at the beginning of the year to easily remember) or spread them out, ordering from a different bureau every four months.
How To Get Your Credit Report
The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.
To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service.
What You Should Check For
As you look through your information, check for errors such as misspelled names or incorrect numbers. Errors can signify an issue with data entry like accidentally entering another person’s information under your name. It can also alert you to fraudulent behavior. Other errors like seeing a property you never bought or loans you don’t remember taking out are definite red flags.
Here is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s list of what else to check for:
- Closed accounts reported as open
- Incorrect balances
- Incorrect credit limits
- Being reported as owner of an account that you were an authorized user for
- Incorrect dates
- Accounts inaccurately labeled as late or delinquent
- Accounts listed multiple times