Nearly one in ten Americans reported being a victim of identity theft according to the credit bureau TransUnion. Phishing schemes and theft of credentials from data breaches have led to an explosion in reports of identity theft since the pandemic began. Thankfully, the three credit bureaus are providing consumers FREE credit reports WEEKLY until April of 2021. Until now, the credit bureaus were required by law to provide consumers with a free report from each bureau once a year.
Checking credit reports more frequently is the key to identifying fraud and errors now that work, school, and shopping are all being conducted online. The more you know and the sooner you know it, the better equipped you will be to repair credit errors and ensure the validity of the report. Checking all three credit reporting bureaus is recommended because credit information can, and often does, differ from one bureau to another.
For example, if you have multiple credit cards that provide a credit score on their app, you can often see differences in the scores from one report to another. That is due to the credit card companies using different credit reporting bureaus that do not report the same information.
To get your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com:
- Do not go to each credit bureau individually. The website is dedicated to obtaining the reports and makes it easy to do so.
- Once you receive the reports, read all three, because the details can differ.
- Make sure to identify irregularities. There may be new accounts opened in your name, inaccurate reporting of late payments, or balances that are higher than expected.
- If there is an error, make sure to report it to the credit bureau in writing and ask that it be investigated and corrected. Both the credit reporting company and the creditor are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information.
Unless the credit bureau determines that your complaint is frivolous, they will conduct an investigation. When they complete the investigation, they will provide written results and a free copy of the revised credit report if the results dictate a change.
The availability of free weekly credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies through April 2021 may not end identity theft, but if you have been a victim of identity theft or worry that you have been a victim, AnnualCreditReport.com can provide you with the information you need to determine your status.
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