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Free Credit Score Reports FCRA

Free credit score reports are available once every 12 months from the credit bureaus.

Those are available due to the "Fair Credit Reporting Act". In the past, consumers paid to have access to their credit reports, but thankfully the FCRA changed that!

For the USA, the three credit bureau agencies are: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, but you don't contact those agencies directly to get your reports.

There is one website to request your free reports from, which is listed on the FTC's website, and I'll provide that link at the end of this article.

Should you order a free report once a year, or not?

If you're interested in adding an extra element of protection against identity theft, then yes! You should consider requesting your free report you are entitled to, once every 12 months. Note: it's not based on a calendar year, but once every 12 months.

By requesting your free report, you may determine if someone else has attempted to use your identity. If you don't request your free reports, and if you don't have any other warning signs of identity theft occurring, then you wouldn't know!

Like other precautions, it's no guarantee that it will provide you a full safety net against identity theft, but it can certainly help to stop that activity sooner, rather than later! In the case of your personal or business credit, ignorance is NOT bliss!

Will it count as points against you to pull your own report?

There is a common misconception that if you had the report pulled that it will affect your credit negatively, but that's not exactly true.

What occurs is what's known as a 'soft pull' on your credit score. In other words, no need to worry about how requesting your own reports will affect you.

Employers may also require a 'soft pull' on your credit, if the career position requires they do so. That may involve positions for careers in financial services, insurance, banking, and other industries.

In contrast, if you were applying for a loan or home mortgage, than that would result in a 'hard pull' against your credit.

The positives of requesting your report outweigh the negatives - IF...

Yes, there is an 'if' to the equation! Simply put: It's good to consider requesting your free reports every 12 months - IF you have done so through the correct agency!

Be cautious as there are fraudulent websites that are set up to trick people into requesting their free credit report! Why would they do that? For your information to commit identity theft!

Don't be fooled by websites that profess to be a provider of your credit reports! Now there is an exception to the rule: If, for example you're online paying a credit card bill, Visa, Mastercard, American Express may provide you with a link to the proper site to have your report pulled. It should be the same site that the FTC provides.

What to expect when you request your free credit reports:

They will request information from you that only you would have knowledge of to answer correctly, unless someone has already stolen your identity and compromised your information. These are some of the questions they may ask you online.
  • What other names you may have used. (Example -Maiden name)
  • Addresses of places that you have lived.
  • Name of your spouse, or other person you held joint credit with.
  • Your dogs name - lol. Just kidding
There are a variety of potential questions they will ask, as that can vary for each individual. The common denominator though is they will need to verify your social security number, so be prepared for that question.

My suggestion is to bookmark the FTC's page for your reference. That way if there was ever a change with who they have approved to provide credit reports, you will access the correct website link directly through the FTC's site. 

Play it safe!

If you wish, head on over to the FTC for the information on how to access your free credit reports. From there they have a link to the proper website. Plus, they have a short informative video.

For additional information, stay right here and read to your heart's content! There are articles on identity theft here you may wish to read too.