Under an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 2003, consumers are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three big credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. After the recent security breach at Equifax, there is no better time than now to take advantage of obtaining your free report to make sure the information on your credit file actually belongs to you and that you are not one of the 143 million consumers whose information was compromised.
How to Obtain Your Credit Report
As part of the amendment, consumers can now either call each credit reporting agency separately and request a copy of their report or can log on to AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain a free copy. This website was created specifically to simplify the process for consumers to receive a copy of their report. However, it appears that the credit bureaus don’t want to make it so easy to obtain your free copy.
How the Equifax Breach Affects Accessing Your Credit Report
First, if you log on to the Equifax website, there is a page that directs you to the AnnualCreditReport.com website. Equifax explains in a good amount of detail how to go about obtaining a copy of your report and provides you with a phone number, (877) 322-8228, to call if you prefer to have a copy sent to you. However, in light of its recent security breach, Equifax will no longer allow you to request a copy over the internet. Credit report requests must be made by sending in the necessary information, which obviously takes time and effort.
Beware of False Credit Reporting Advertisements
Experian, is not nearly as straight forward as Equifax. When you visit Experian’s website, there is no obvious link that tells you how to obtain a copy of your free report. Experian has several ads on its website. These links offer to give you your credit report and credit score for just $1, but buyer beware. A closer look at the fine print will reveal a 7 day trial membership for only $1 but failure to cancel your enrollment within the time frame will enroll you in a monthly service that will cost you almost $265 a year.
Having to Purchase Your Credit Report From Trans Union
Trans Union, much like Experian, does not make it easy to find out how to obtain a free copy of your report either. If you visit Trans Union’s website and enter “free credit report” in the search bar, Trans Union lays out in lengthy detail that you are entitled to a copy of your report from AnnualCreditReport.com but never tells you how to get it. Trans Union does, however, take you to a link to purchase your report and credit score directly from their website, but not for free.
If you are looking to review your report and ensure its accuracy, log on to AnnualCreditReport.com. Answer the security questions and follow the prompts to obtain your free report. If you are in need of advice or assistance from counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.