Q:

How do you tell if a free credit report website is the official one?

A:

Quick Answer

The only website authorized to provide free credit reports is AnnualCreditReport.com. Each person is entitled by law to a free credit report every year from each of three nationwide credit reporting companies.

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Full Answer

Other websites that are not authorized to provide a free credit report may actually charge for their services or require signing up for a product with strings attached. These companies may require a credit card to sign up that is charged after a trial period ends. Other websites misspell AnnualCreditReport.com in order to trick people who misspell the website on their address bar.

While a credit report requires a name, address, Social Security number and date of birth to verify identity, AnnualCreditReport.com and the three nationwide credit reporting companies do not send out emails asking for this information.

In addition to the website, an official credit report can be obtained by phone or mail. Each individual credit reporting company may ask for additional information to verify identities, such as mortgage payment amounts. If the report is requested online it is available immediately; otherwise, it is processed and mailed out within 15 days. In addition to the yearly free credit report, a person is entitled to a free report if a company takes action against him, if he is unemployed or on welfare, or if the report is inaccurate due to fraud.

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