Hopefully, the answer is recently or within the past year. One of the easiest and most important steps to minimize the potential damage that can be caused by identity theft is to request and review your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion once a year. It’s very easy and it’s free!
Securing your credit reports can be achieved by using one of two mediums – online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by US Mail.
To receive your free report by mail, click here to download the Credit Report Request Form. Simply complete the form and mail it to the address listed at the top of the form.
Here are a few helpful FAQs that I’ve heard regarding credit reports:
Which is safer, completing the form online or using the US Mail?
Personally I’ve done both. They both work just fine. Your credit report is immediately available if you use the online service while the standard mail service takes a couple of weeks.
Who should I obtain the credit reports for?
Everyone! You, your spouse or significant other, your parents, and don’t forget your children. Identity thieves have been known to target those least likely to require credit, thus the importance of checking credit reports for the elderly who do not need credit that often, and children who have never thought about credit.
Should I get all three credit reports now or stagger them throughout the year?
It’s a matter of personal preference as all three credit reports can be different in content – and the differences can be material. Recently, I requested all three of my credit reports to review. Much to my surprise, two were between 19-22 pages in length and other was 52 pages. If you suspect anything suspicious with your credit at this time, I’d check all three of them now and make sure that you note the date, and then request them every year thereafter.
For more information on checking your credit reports, or questions about identity theft, contact Frank Suponcic at 440-449-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.