GET A FREE WEEKLY CREDIT REPORT UNTIL APRIL 2021
Did you know that consumers now have the option to get a FREE weekly credit report until April of 2021? All three credit reporting agencies are offering consumers a free weekly credit report online, until the April 2021 deadline.
With multiple COVID-19 scams going on right now, it’s even more important than ever to remain vigilant. Consumers should be keeping track of what information is contained in their credit report files. Equifax, Experian and Trans Union are the names of the three credit bureaus. Federal Law requires each of them to provide you with a free credit report each year, upon request. So, this new policy of being able to obtain a free weekly credit report is a rare luxury. Take advantage of it.
WHERE TO GO TO GET IT
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only recommended website to visit to request your credit reports. Mandated by Congress, the website must keep track of whether or not you were provided a free credit report (within a year) and from which credit bureau the report was obtained.
It is recommended that consumers check their credit report at least three times a year. This is best accomplished by staggering each request, from a different credit bureau, once every four months. When submitting your credit report request, you can choose which credit reporting agency you want to get the report from. Therefore, if you stagger the requests, once every four months, you get to keep an eye on things throughout the year, as opposed to all three reports at once.
The information contained in your credit report will not vary much from credit bureau to credit bureau. AnnualCreditReport.com does not charge a fee for the report, but you will have to pay a small fee if you want to know your credit score. To get started – go here
But WHY Should I Bother?
It’s important to check your credit report, not just for mistakes, but also because the Federal Trade Commission has said it is seeing a significant rise in identity theft complaints, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Scammers are professionals and are referred to as “Artists” for a reason. They know how to target their victims with tried-and-true tactics. They also follow the headlines and tailor their scams to current events. By examining your credit report, you can make sure that all open accounts listed are legitimate. Read my article about Coronavirus Scams here
Armed with stolen personal information from data breaches, scammers attempt to apply for new credit cards and loans in your name. So be sure to comb through your credit report to be sure all of the accounts listed were opened by you.
If you find an error in your report or an unauthorized account that you didn’t open, you should send a written dispute to each of the three credit reporting agencies. List any incorrect information and/or any account that appears to be fraudulent. Either file your report on the company website or send the written dispute by certified mail.
DETERRENT – PLACE A CREDIT FREEZE
If you don’t plan to open any new lines of credit in the next year, it’s a good idea to place a Credit Freeze with all three credit bureaus. Placing a credit freeze is one of the best ways to protect yourself from criminals. The credit freeze locks out the bad guys and prevents them from applying for new credit in your name. The process is FREE, but you’ll have to contact each credit bureau individually and request they place the credit freeze on your file. To learn more about Credit Freezes, read a couple of my prior articles on this topic here and here
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) websites contain extensive information about credit reports, your rights and the laws that guarantee these rights. You can learn more about your free reports at FTC here and the CFPB here
With everything else going on in the world right now, don’t add fighting identity theft or a damaged credit score to the list. Take advantage of being able keep a close eye on things, by getting your free weekly credit report.