Have you ever been curious as to what’s on your credit report? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans request a credit report every year. The lucrative business of credit reporting is making millions upon millions with the lure of a free credit report. We all have seen the TV ads and heard them on the radio with the lure of a free credit report. Well free sometimes isn’t really free. Most of these services lure you in with the all popular “free for 30 days” or give you a free report only with the purchase of another product or service.
So is there really such a thing as a free credit report? Absolutely. Sometimes free is free if you know where to look. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates that US consumers are entitled to receive a free credit report each year upon request. This helps you, the consumer, to stay informed; which in turn aids you to deter identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as ten million Americans have their identities stolen each year. So are you one of the ten million this year?
If you’re interested in pulling a 100% free report you have three options:
- For you tech savvy geeks, point your browser over to AnnualCreditReport.com where you can obtain an online version of your free credit report from the big three credit reporting agencies.
- For you old school paper hounds you can download the official request form in PDF format.* Just fill out and mail and your free credit report from each of the big three reporting agencies will arrive in a week or so.
- If you prefer a more one on one approach you can call them at 877-322-8228 and request your free credit report by phone.
If you choose steps one or three be prepared to answer questions about yourself like your full name social security number and date of birth. You may also be asked questions that only you should have knowledge of, such as previous addresses or current creditors, if applicable.
* PDF require Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be download free from Adobe’s website.