The end of the year is a good time to remember to get your free credit report.
Although the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 gives you the right to a free credit report once a year, only 4% of us get it.
You can claim your report once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. This central site allows you to request a free credit report from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Review your credit report to
- Be sure you know each of the creditors on the list. If not, contact the creditor or the credit bureau immediately to help identify it. If it’s not your account, you may discover that you’ve become a victim of identity theft.
- Be sure that your creditors are accurately reporting your on-time payments. If there are inaccuracies, contact the creditor to get the information corrected so it doesn’t negatively effect your credit score.
- Look for flags of identity theft, such as the listing of an address where you have never lived. If you find any inconsistencies, you can ask to have a “fraud alert” placed on your account. This will require businesses to take an extra step before granting credit. A “credit freeze” blocks new creditors from accessing your credit report.
Opt Out of Preapproved Credit Offers
While you’re at it, you may want to opt out of preapproved credit offers at optoutprescreen.com. It’s easy for identity thieves to steal your mail and use these preapproved offers to open accounts in your name.