A credit report tells your story. All the accounts you have with a lender are listed with information like the date when you opened the account, what your credit limit is, how much you’ve paid, outstanding balance, whether you’ve been late and the like. There’s also a portion of the report that reveals who has accessed your credit report within the last to years, including those that are “voluntary”, meaning they were done so at your request for credit or “involuntary” when lenders ordered your report, for example if a lender wanted to make a pre-approved credit offer in the mail.
For sure you want to know what’s in your credit report, not only to correct any errors, but to detect any activity that isn’t yours. The good news is, you can get your credit report free. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax (NYSE:), Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
The importance of credit reports hasn’t gone unnoticed by scammers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — annualcreditreport.com. Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program.
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