October 20, 2021
Free Annual Credit Reports
Each year, I like to remind everyone about accessing and checking their free annual credit report. It is Federal law you can get a free credit report every twelve months from each of the three major consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). There is one official site to get your free annual credit report. It is AnnualCreditReport.com. They can also be reached at (877)322-8228. There are other look-alike sites which claim their credit reports are free. In the end, the look-alike sites claiming to be free will end up charging you.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are offering free weekly online credit reports. This will continue through April 20, 2022.
Why should you check your credit report regularly? Monitoring your credit report is a good way to spot errors or signs of identity theft. It is good to review your credit report for suspicious activity and accounts or addresses you do not recognize. This helps to prevent identity theft or other errors rather than finding out after it is too late your credit has been affected.
You can request all three reports at once or you can order one report at a time. By requesting the reports separately (for example, one every four months) you can monitor your credit report throughout the year. Situations such as “adverse action” based on a credit report, your file is inaccurate due to fraud, placing an initial fraud alert and others will also get you additional free reports.
For additional information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov and search “free credit report” or contact us and we will print the information for you. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website at http://www.consumerfinance.gov provides helpful information.
To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.
Follow us on Facebook @ChouteauCountyExtension to keep up to date on what is happening in Chouteau County Extension and 4-H.
Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.