Free Weekly Credit Report

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.

Free Weekly Credit Report
Check Your Credit Report Often

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.

FREE CREDIT FREEZES COMING SOON!

FREE CREDIT FREEZES – Coming Soon!

Thanks to a newly enacted bill, sometime in September, consumers can take advantage of Free Credit Freezes. Because a credit freeze needs to be placed with each one of the three credit bureaus, the new law will help save consumers some money.

Free Credit Freezes
Freeze Your Credit Files ASAP!

The legislation was added as part of the Dodd-Frank bank deregulation bill, passed by Congress earlier this year. The law allows consumers to either place, lift or remove a credit freeze absolutely free of charge.

Before this new law, depending on which State you lived in, consumers had to pay between $2 and $10 to place a freeze. The only way a consumer could get a no-cost credit freeze was if they could prove they were a victim of identity theft.

Brought On By Equifax Breach

Following the Equifax data breach, the advice given by most experts was to place a separate credit freeze with all three of the credit bureaus. You may recall, the Equifax breach exposed the personal data of 148 million Americans. Because social security numbers were exposed in that breach, placing a credit freeze was a consumer’s first line of defense. A credit freeze protects a victim’s credit account by virtually locking access to it. This prevents crooks from applying for credit, using your stolen social security number.

Companies would never approve a loan or a credit card application unless they are able to do a credit check – to see if you are creditworthy. Once a freeze is in place, companies are prevented from checking or viewing your credit file. Therefore, placing a credit freeze protects a consumer from criminals trying to get credit in their good name. Keep in mind that if you yourself wants to apply for credit, you will need to temporarily lift your credit freeze, so that the lender can gain access to your credit file.

NOTE: There’s a difference between a credit “Lock” and a Credit “Freeze”!

Equifax has been offering free credit “Locks” for life as part of its response to their massive data breach. But consumers should be aware that credit “Locks” are NOT the same thing as placing a credit freeze. Credit Locks don’t offer the same consumer protections. They are virtually just an agreement between you and Equifax that can be subject to changes down the line.

Trans Union and Experian also offer their own versions of credit “Locks”. Warning: there are fees involved! Anna Laitin, the director of financial policy with Consumer’s Union recommends freezes rather than credit locks because the rules for credit freezes are established by law. “Consumers will know what they’re getting with a freeze”, she said.

~ See an article I wrote about Credit Locks vs Credit Freezes

CHILD ID THEFT

Children have become a prime target of identity thieves. A million American children became victims of identity theft last year at a cost of 2.6 billion dollars in total losses to the families. Once a thief is able to get identifying information on a child, such as the child’s Social Security number, they can open a credit report on behalf of the child and obtain credit in the child’s name. Fortunately, a provision in the new law also allows for parents or guardians of children under age 16, to set up a credit report and then freeze it at no cost.

What about Fraud Alerts?

Another benefit of the new law also extends the time limit on fraud alerts.  A fraud alert is usually placed to notify the credit bureaus if a consumer suspects they might be a victim of identity theft.  Fraud alerts require businesses to verify an application for credit before giving approval. Originally, a fraud alert was only good for 90 days and had to be renewed again every 90 days for the alert to remain on a consumer’s credit file. The time limit has now been extended from 90 days to a full year.

So, if you haven’t already placed a credit freeze, once September rolls around, you may want to take the advice of experts and place one for FREE!

Please read a previous article of mine if you want to learn more about How to Place a Credit Freeze.