Reviewing your personal credit report on a regular basis is an important step in preventing and detecting identity theft. Most people are not aware of the fact that Federal law entitles everyone to a free annual credit report. The best and simplest way to obtain the credit report is not from one of the many trendy free credit report websites advertised to us via online and television ads. Instead, you may access your truly free credit report at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp. This site gives you access to reports from all three of the consumer credit reporting companies. You choose whether or not to access all three reports at once, or to spread them out over the course of a year. From an identity theft standpoint, spreading the reports out is your best bet because it enables you to monitor the reports on a more continuous basis. Once you obtain the credit report, you should review it to make sure that you recognize all the accounts, loans, and other information (such as places you have lived, etc.) on your report. If you do find an inaccuracy, you should contact the consumer credit reporting company that provided the credit report. Unfortunately, although you also have a legal right to obtain your credit score, federal law gives the consumer credit reporting companies the right to charge you a “reasonable fee” for the score. So, unless you subscribe to one of the few emerging credit card companies that provide your credit score to you for free as part of an additional client service, you will probably be paying for your actual credit score. At a minimum, be sure to take advantage of the annual opportunity to review your credit report to protect yourself from potential identity theft and other inaccuracies that may be hidden in your credit report.
Kim Murphy, CPA – Packer Thomas
Feel free to contact Kim with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org