Are you inundated with telephone calls, online offers, and other come-ons offering you a report on your credit rating? Don't pay anything for this service because you're legally entitled to some freebies.
For starters, there are three major credit bureaus operating in the U.S.: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each one compiles your credit history and summarizes the findings into a report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can obtain a free copy from each credit bureau once a year.
The credit report will include information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have been sued or ever have filed for bankruptcy. This data is available at a price to others—insurance companies, landlords, employers, and the like—to help them evaluate your creditworthiness.
How do you request a free copy? It's easy. The three bureaus have centralized their operations. Simply log on to www.annualcreditreport.com, call1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Be aware of imposters. Don't use any other service and don't even try to contact an individual bureau. And, most importantly, don't provide any personal information that someone could use to scam you.
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