You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies on an annual basis, in total a potential three free credit reports per year. Divide your fiscal year into three time periods to check your credit report, and mark the dates on your calendar. Take advantage of this tool and be proactive in your credit success.
Safety and Cyber Security
Checking your credit report is simple and can be obtained from your personal computer or a computer from your local library. The first thing, however, when dealing with personal information such as name, address, social security number, and date of birth; is to remember to only use secure and trusted websites. Cybercriminals and con-artist are all over the internet and they are waiting for the negligent or un-computer savvy user. Make sure to educate yourself and have a basic understanding of computer and cybersecurity. Most computers and websites have software designed to protect you, it is your responsibility to know how to use it, and protect your personal information.
Government Websites (i.e. “.gov”)
A great place to start is recognizing and understanding different website domain names. Any website that ends in “.gov” is a government authorized website and a secure place for your personal information.
Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (Https)
The beginning of any URL, (website address), begins with http or https and this indicates the transfer protocol for the website data. Websites that transmit and collect private or secure data use https, this can be used as a good indicator for ensuring you are on an official website and there is a level of security protecting your information.
The Credit Bureaus and How to Get to Your Reports
Getting your free online credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus is easy, and will only take 10 minutes. Below is a guide, directing you to the right places, and providing you with the information necessary along the way.
Online Credit Report (AnnualCreditReport.com)
On the Federal Trade Commission’s website (FTC), is a link to the only authorized website for free credit reports www.annualcreditreport.com. You can request and obtain credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, from annualcreditreport.com.
- To Complete the next section, you may need to refer to information including, but not limited to: your credit cards, loans, and mortgages. Make sure you have any statements available.
- You will also need to know or have access to your: name, address, social security number, and date of birth.
- To receive a free online credit report, you must complete the identity verification process. If you cannot or do not wish to complete the credit report online you may obtain your free credit report by phone or mail.
- Amount of most recent mortgage
- Years lived at current address
- Zipcode apart of address
- Street number of most recent previous address
- In XXXX year what county did you live in?
Once you have completed the verification process select the credit bureau that you would like to receive a report from
- Note: You only get one credit report, from each credit bureau per year, so it would not be advised to pull a report from all of them at the same time. Make sure you toggle (click and check) the box of only to the credit bureau you want a report from.
- The desired credit report should appear on a web page with the option to download as a pdf. or print a hard copy. We recommend you save a copy of this credit report because once you leave that website you will no longer be able to access your report.
For information on understanding your credit report click the link to our blog, What’s in My Credit Report and What Does It Mean?.
Request Via Phone or Mail
You may also request your free credit report by mail or phone through the same servicing company, Annual Credit Report Service. Contact by phone will require accesses and knowledge of the same information stated in the above section, Online Credit Reports. According to their website if you order your report by phone it will be mailed to you within 15 days.
- Phone: (877) 322 – 8228
- Mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
To request your free credit report by mail you will need to print and fill out the Annual Credit Report Request Form. Also, make sure you provide an acceptable form of identification, as listed below, with your request form, otherwise, your request will not be processed. A list of accepted forms of identification and address verification documents can be found on the Equifax Valid ID Website, click the respective Equifax link.