How Do You Obtain a Free Credit Report?


Quick Answer

Consumers can obtain free credit reports from the three credit reporting companies of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion online, by phone or by mail, explains the Federal Trade Commission. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to free credit reports from each of the companies every 12 months.

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Full Answer

The only authorized website that consumers can access to order free credit reports is AnnualCreditReport.com, according to the Federal Trade Commission. People should be wary of other websites that purportedly offer free credit reports because they often charge hidden fees or are paid services. Alternatively, as of 2015, consumers can order free reports from the toll-free number 1-877-322-8228, or they can download, complete and send in an Annual Credit Report Request form. Consumers have the option to order the three reports together or one at a time. To obtain their free credit reports, individuals must supply their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and answers to personal security questions.

Once consumers receive copies of their credit reports, they should check them to ensure that the information is up-to-date, accurate and complete, as the Federal Trade Commission advises. If there are any inconsistencies, consumers should contact the credit reporting company, which is obligated to investigate inaccuracies, correct mistakes and report the mistakes to the other credit reporting companies.

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