In many Identity Theft cases, the victims discover they have been victimized by this crime while reviewing their credit reports. The credit reports contain our personal information and basically all of our financial history including judgments, bankruptcies, repossessions, etc. However, about 75% of all credit reports contain incorrect information. Therefore, you do not need to be an identity theft victim to check your own report. It should become a habit and be a part of our lives.
Check your reports from all three major credit reporting agencies at least once every 12 months. Also, make sure to check your report at least 90 days prior to making a major purchase, such as a car or a home. This way you will have time to correct information. So, how do you get your FREE Credit report? You have several options:
- By law, you have the right to receive your FREE credit reports from all three major reporting agencies every 12 months. You can only do it through www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- You can also go for a credit monitoring program offered by FreeCreditScore.com, an Experian company. Once you sign up for a 7-days free trial, you will get reports from all three major CRAs. However, if you do not intend on using the service, you must remember to cancel it prior to free trial expiration. A monitoring program is a great option if you are serious about preventing financial fraud in your name. Every time someone is trying to apply for credit, you are automatically alerted. Get Your Free Credit Report and Score!
- You can get your FREE report if you are unemployed and are planning to look for a job in the next 60 days.
- You are entitled to a FREE credit report if an adverse action against you such as denying you an application for credit, or employment, or insurance, etc. You must request a copy of your report in writing within 60 days from receipt of the denial notice, which should contain a name, a phone number and an address of a Credit Reporting Agency.
- You can get your FREE report if you are on Welfare.
- If you have reasons to believe you are an Identity Theft victim, you are entitled to a FREE credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. See contact information here.
- If you are an Identity Theft victim and placed an extended fraud alert on your report, you are entitled to two (2) FREE credit reports every 12 months. (one every 6 months). In California, the law allows you to get up to 12 reports, one per month, from the date of the police report.
As you can see, you have no excuse not to monitor your report and take first steps in preventing a financial catastrophe that could be created by Identity Theft.
When checking your report, make sure to check for any incorrect inquiries, your aliases, addresses, SS number variations, etc. You may be surprised with what you can find.