Protect yourself from bad credit and identity theft – get your free credit report now!
Each year, thousands of Pennsylvanians experience the devastation of having their identities stolen. You can help protect yourself from identity theft by regularly checking your credit report for accuracy and unusual activity. This will also show you if your credit history has been properly reported by banks and other companies with whom you have done business.
Below you will find all the information you need to obtain a free credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that consumers request a credit report from each of the companies, since not every company collects the same information. Consumers can order all three credit reports at once, or they can space their requests throughout the year to monitor any changes that may occur in their credit history.
It’s a free and easy way to protect yourself from bad credit and identity theft.
Consumers may order a free credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 877-322-8228, or print a request form from the shared Web site and mail the form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
The Treasury Department will also mail credit report request forms to those who call 717-787-2991.
More about credit reports…
Your credit report contains important information about you such as your account history, credit limits, timeliness of bill payments and outstanding debt.
Checking your credit report can help you detect identity theft by showing whether unauthorized inquiries and applications for credit have been made, or if accounts have been opened in your name.
Creditors use your credit report to make decisions about you when you apply for a loan, a credit card, insurance, or employment. Your credit information determines if you qualify to receive a loan and the interest rate you will pay.
Be sure to check your report for accuracy. It is your right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to request that the information provider (i.e. any person, company, or organization with whom you have done business) and the reporting company correct inaccurate or incomplete information about you. If you find an error, contact both the consumer reporting company and the information provider immediately.
What is a credit score? A credit score is a number based on an analysis of information from your credit report. Lenders and others use your credit score to help determine if you qualify for a loan, credit card, or services. The higher the number, the less risk the person represents to lenders. Your credit score is not included in your free report, but can be purchased from the consumer reporting companies.
Tips to establish or maintain good credit:
- Pay bills on time and catch up on any missed payments.
- Only apply for and open new credit accounts when needed. Your credit limits, even when not reached, show your potential for debt.
- Try to keep credit card balances low.
- Check your three credit reports for accuracy.
For more information:
FTC Identity Theft Hotline
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Federation of America