Keeping a watchful eye on your credit report is a smart idea. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise when applying for a new job or attempting to get a loan.
You might think your credit report is impeccable, when in fact it shows several delinquent credit card accounts. The problem is you didn’t open any of the accounts!
Spot suspicious activity such as this by checking your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
By law, you can receive a free credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting bureaus. Some people get all three of their reports at once to make a comparison. But you can also get one report every four months to track your credit report throughout the year. And best of all, the process is fast and easy.
The first step is to visit AnnualCreditReport.com. Once there simply click “Request Your Free Credit Reports” or “Request Yours Now!” You can’t miss these options because they’re bright red.
Provide Your Personal Information
Complete the request form that verifies your identity. Surely you didn’t think they’d give you the reports without asking questions. The form asks for personal information, such as your social security number. But it’s secure as long as you’re at the correct website, the address starts with “https” and the padlock icon is visible.
Choose Your Bureau
Choose the bureau that will provide your credit report. Reports are provided by Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can choose one at a time, but you’re free to return later and choose from the remaining two.
When you reach the website of your selected bureau, you’ll have to answer more questions. This verification is to confirm your identity. You might have to know an old phone number, choose a location where you worked in the past, or provide other information that can verify who you are. It’s like taking a multiple choice test.
Finally, View Your Absolutely Free Credit Report!
View your credit bureau report. Check for errors and suspicious activity. Are there credit card accounts that you didn’t open? Is there a loan from a bank in Texas when you live in Alaska?
If anything causes concern, then report it to the credit bureau. It’s simple to have an error corrected. Dealing with identity theft is more involved, but you can get the ball rolling by reporting the incident.
It’s possible to view the report online or print a copy. Just be warned that a credit report is a hefty document. If you want to print the report, make sure your printer is stocked with paper and has sufficient ink.
These free reports do not contain a credit or FICO score, but at least you will be able to double-check the validity of the information they are reporting on you.
Start Over – If You Want
Return to AnnualCreditReport.com. You can choose to view your two remaining reports or save them for later. If you want to compare the reports, then getting all three at once is a good idea. But it’s easier to monitor your reports and catch suspicious activity if you spread out your requests over time. Just make sure you request all three reports within the year.
The entire process takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. It takes longer to view multiple reports, but even then it takes less than an hour. The websites are user-friendly and easy to navigate, so the process is simple.