During Financial Literacy Month, we’ve focused on steps to protect your money by spotting and avoiding scams. But here’s another important way to help protect your wallet: regularly check your credit reports.
Through December 2023, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
By checking your credit reports you’ll be able to see if someone is misusing your personal information to run up charges on your credit cards, get new credit or open a new account in your name, and steal your identity. The sooner you spot this fraud, the sooner you can take action to stop the harm and correct the errors. Follow these steps:
- Order your free credit reports. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-322-8228.
- Read the reports carefully. Do you recognize the accounts? Do they list credit applications? Did you apply for credit at those places? Check your personal information too. Are your name, address, and Social Security number correct?
- Dispute mistakes. Contact the credit bureau and the business that reported the information. Ask both to correct their records. Include as much detail as possible, plus copies of supporting documents, like payment records. Our sample dispute letters for credit bureaus and businesses can help.
If you don’t recognize an account, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it to the FTC and get a recovery plan. IdentityTheft.gov will also help you create a sworn Identity Theft Report that you can send to the credit bureaus to block identity theft-related debts from appearing on your credit report.
Visit FTC.gov/credit for more information about credit reports, scores, freezes and monitoring, then share what you learned during #FinancialLiteracyMonth. And if you spot a scam, please tell us about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Updated September 23, 2022 to reflect the extension of weekly free credit reports through December 2023.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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Great article and very timely. One thing that is often overlooked in articles about Identity Theft is the accounts people try to open using your info that bypass our credit reports. I had 2 attempts to create refillable debit cards in my name just this year. I found out because the cards were mailed to me in my name. I was told that the person would have needed my name, address, DOB, and SSN to request them. I now have a fraud alert with the bureaus after reporting it to the FTC. I was part of 4 major data breaches last year that I'm aware of. This is a heads-up that not all Identity Theft instances will show up on credit reports. Be vigilant.
I tried to print this information for my records and it isn't possible. This seems to be the new trend. A printable PDF is necessary if I can't print the page, or parts of it, for other than online access. I keep notebooks. I need a print option to remember everything I need to remember.
In reply to I tried to print this… by Deborah Martin
You can print a copy of this blog by touching the Control key (marked ctrl) and the letter P on your computer. After you do that, you should see a new screen with directions for printing, if your printer is connected to your computer.
Great Job. Hopefully, affected consumers would get some relief from the rampantly disrespect of the spirit of the law. As a victim of identity theft, as well as, extraneous practices of hidden charges and misleading information by well known Credit Cards’ and financial institutions- I urge the FTC to be more vigilant in sanctioning such unethical/illegal behaviour. Regards.
Trans Union form (using your link) says only thru April 20 2022 - yet your website says Through December 2022, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three nationwide credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Why the discrepancy?
In reply to Trans Union form (using your… by Sharon Beckas
The free weekly credit reports will be available through December 2022. TransUnion has the correct information here: transunion. com/ get- credit- report
Definitely going to use this information.