What would you do if you applied for a home loan and found out that someone had been using your identity for years? You can find out for free if you’ve been a victim of identity theft (or if they somehow put something incorrectly on your credit report).
In 2001, Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act. As a result, each consumer is entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report from each credit reporting agency once every 12 months.
Many companies have jumped on the free credit report bandwagon, and there are commercials out there advertising a free credit report. However, once you order your “free” report, surprise…you need to pay $14.95 or some other charge. The names of the sites are so close, that each year I can never remember which site is the official free credit report site, and I have to search the internet.
The official site to use when requesting your free credit report is called AnnualCreditReport.com. I always request my report annually, but did you know that you don’t have to request your report for each of the 3 credit agencies at the same time? You can space them out over the year, so you don’t have to wait a full year between checks.
So, be careful when you request your free report and use only the official site (AnnualCreditReport.com). You should never have to pay anything for your free annual report. Also, make sure you are checking your credit report at least once per year to make sure that everything is correct.
Do you check your credit report for free each year? For more frugal ideas, visit Tightwad Tuesday over at Being Frugal.