- Get a free Congress-mandated credit report each year – 75% of all credit reports have a mistake in them. Log on to http://AnnualCreditReport.com
to get yours. Mistakes can affect your credit score, and ultimately
lead to higher interest rates. This report also helps you determine
identity theft. Call 877-322-8228.
- Check your credit report at least twice a year to make sure everything is in order.
- There are only 3 credit bureaus in the U.S. who gather and report credit information.
When someone who is unauthorized makes an inquiry about your credit,
you will know about it if you monitor those inquiries. Look at your
annual credit report for FREE: http://AnnualCreditReport.com
Federal law requires
that each credit bureau provide all citizens with one free credit
report annually. In addition, these three credit bureaus each charge
about $10 for a freeze on your credit file, and another $10 for a thaw
(which could take up to 3 days to thaw it). By freezing access to your
credit file, the file becomes off-limits to anyone who doesn’t know the
secret PIN number that you choose.
- Freeze your Credit Reports.
If your wallet or credit cards have been stolen, or you suspect you have
been a victim of identity theft, Washington State law allows citizens
to order a “freeze” on your credit reports, which helps prevent a thief
from opening new accounts in a victim’s name. Place a “Fraud Alert” on
your credit reports. Mail or forward copies of the police report to
all 3 credit agencies with a cover letter requesting your complete
credit file. Then, call every creditor with a bogus account listed in
your file, and have them close it immediately.
- Fraud alerts can be reported
to one of the 3 national credit report agencies, placing a fraud alert
on your name and your Social Security number. Contact the following
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
- Remove your name from mailing lists. Insurance
companies, banks, and other companies are allowed to access your credit
report when making their mailing lists. You have the right to stop
receiving financial junk mail, or stop allowing insurance companies,
banks, and other companies to access your credit report from Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion records. Call the following consumer reporting
agencies toll-free at 1-888-567-8688, or write:
Equifax Options, PO Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
Experian Target Marketing, PO Box 919, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Opt Out Request, PO Box 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094-0505