Recent studies show that almost half of American consumers don’t check their credit report on a regularly basis, almost one third have never seen a copy of their report and over half don’t know what their credit score is. This number is frighteningly high considering the fact that your credit is essential to your financial well-being. With identity theft and other credit scams on the rise, reviewing your credit report is more important than ever to protect your finances and your future.
The first reason to review your report, is because it is FREE! The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), the federal law enacted to govern how credit reporting agencies handle your credit information, was created to protect the privacy and accuracy of your credit information as well as designate how your information is disseminated. In 2003 the FCRA amended its laws to allow consumers the right to obtain one free copy of their report annually. Since 2005 consumers can log on to www.annualcreditreport.com to receive a copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.
The second reason consumers need to review their credit report is to make sure it is accurate. Studies show that 1 in 5 consumers have errors on their credit report. Because your report is a reflection of your credit history, including the amount of debt you carry, the amount of accounts you maintain and your payment history, you want to make sure the information is correct and is an accurate reflection of your credit worthiness. When you apply for a loan, mortgage, credit card, etc. these companies are reviewing your report to determine your eligibility, so make sure what they are looking at is correct. The better your credit report, the higher your score, the more favorable your interest rates will be when applying for loans.
A third reason to review your report is to make sure you have not been the victim of identity theft or one of the recent large data breaches. In 2014, more than 12.5 million consumers were the victim of identity theft. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and while it is at an all time high, if you have not reviewed your credit report, there is a chance you would not know if someone else was using your information.
Make sure you are in the know. Access a copy of your report before 2015 is over to ensure you receive your free copy and guarantee the accuracy of the information being reported about you.
If you are having problems with your credit report and would like the advice or assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.