Don’t Forget To Check Your Credit Report

I try to post about this topic from time to time just to remind everyone it is important to keep on top of your credit report. You never know when some crook out there might try to steal your hard work.

Now of course there are credit monitoring services out there and I’m not going to say they are bad but I’m not sure they are always worth the expense as there are some cheaper and more effective ways to do this.

To begin with you are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax).

The one and ONLY place to go to obtain these free reports is the official federal government site at www.annualcreditreport.com

One trick I tell people to use is to spread out the reports. Do one agency now, then another in 4 months and then the third 4 months later. This allows you to spread things out and get 3 reports over the course of the year.

If you want a little more security then freeze your credit. You can do this by going to each of the three credit reporting agencies web sites and looking for the freeze credit option. It might cost you a small fee (always under $ 10) but when you do this your credit will be frozen and can only be unlocked with a secret code that only you know.

So if you get down the road and want to use your credit then you can unfreeze things but otherwise nobody can get credit in your name even if they know all of your personal data.

Consumer guru Clark Howard has some excellent advice at his web site.

 

Author: PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

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2 Comments

  1. Patrick, while checking your credit report regularly is important, I was dismayed to hear that if there is a mistake on it you’d be hard pressed to do a damn thing about it.
    Have you caught this segment from “60 Minutes” yet?
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50140748n

  2. I have not seen the report but I come across the issue often in my work and it is very frustrating to deal with them however there are ways to try and get the agencies to move.

    I generally advise sending each agency a certified letter requesting the correction and waiting the required 30 days for them to act.

    When they don’t you send a second letter (also certified) and wait another 30 days to give them reasonable time.

    Then you sue in small claims court for damages to your credit.

    This will often (though not always) cure the problem.

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