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Privacy and Credit Protection

Credit Reports

It is within your legal rights to see your credit reports for free. It's recommended that you check it annually. Even small errors on your credit report can negatively effect your credit score, which is what some creditors use when determining what you pay in interest rates. 

Also, by checking your credit report regularly you can help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft. New account fraud is not as common as someone using your existing credit card, but it is usually more damaging to your credit. This happens when a someone attains your personal information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth, and assumes your identity, which they use to open credit cards or other lines of credit. Because they use an address other than your own you are not likely to learn your a victim until you apply for credit yourself. However, the new account fraud will show up on your credit reports. That's why viewing your reports regularly is so important. The earlier you detect the fraud, the more quickly you can have the fraud account removed  from your credit reports.

How To Order Your Free Credit Reports

The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) have set-up three ways for you to order your free credit reports. They have a central address, a toll-free telephone number, and a website.

Mail:

  1. Go to this website https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf
  2. Print the form and fill it out.
  3. Mail the form to:
                Annual Credit Report Request Service
                PO Box 105281
                Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Telephone:

  1. To order your free credit reports by phone call (877) 322-8228

Internet:

  1. To order your free credit reports over the internet go to: https://www.annualcreditreport.com  Watch out for similar web site names that may try to charge a fee. Even the official website will probably try to sell you fee-based products, like credit scores and credit monitoring.

Credit Report Errors

It's actually fairly common to have mistakes showing on your credit report, and these mistakes can have serious repercussions. For information on your rights, visit the Federal Trade commission website at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fcrasummary.pdf

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