One way to keep an eye on your credit history is to request an annual credit report. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all consumer are entitled to a free annual report of their credit.
You can request one from the three major reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. This is where banks and other places go to check your credit history and score. You'll only need to request it from one company since all three have access to the same information.
Obtaining Free Annual Credit Reports
FACTA established a rule to require credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Trans Union and Experian to establish a centralized source for accepting consumer requests for their free credit report. In addition to to a dedicated Web site, a toll-free number and a postal address, the source:
In accordance with FACTA, the Federal Trade Commission issued a final rule regarding the free annual credit report requirement. The rule requires the CRAs to establish a "centralized source" for accepting consumer requests for free credit reports. The centralized source must include a dedicated Internet Web site, a toll-free telephone number, and a postal address. In addition, the centralized source:
- Must have adequate capacity to accept requests from the anticipated volume of consumers making requests
- May only collect as much personally identifiable information needed to process these reports
- Must provide clear and easily understood information about how to make requests
- May not include advertising or marketing that interferes with, detracts from or undermines the purpose of the centralized source
Question For Your Attorney
- When I requested my free report, I was bombarded with requests for a credit card number. Is this legal?
- There are entries on my credit report that I don't recognize. How can I figure out if I ever had an account with a certain company?
- My credit report lists addresses that I've never lived at? Is this cause for alarm?