I hope by now everyone is accessing their free credit reports every year (are there still some states that dont let you do this?). Through AnnualCreditReport you are allowed 1 report from each agency every 12 months. So we schedule ours for one report every 4 months, and I just got my last one of the year. Somehow, since the last one, my report went from a 743 score to an 805….not bad! We paid off a little debt here and there, but nothing major had changed. I guess moving the money we did owe around and then making it disappear did wonders for my score.
Forbes.com has a good little article up about the program, and how its VERY easy to be duped into using a different website to access your free report:
“The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.To get it, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only site authorized by the FTC to distribute free credit reports. Spell it wrong, and you will likely end up at a fraudulent site that is trying to sell you something, or worse, collect your personal information for fraudulent purposes. You can also link to the correct site through the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov. You can order one from each of these reporting agencies every 12 months, or space them out over the period of a year. Credit scores are not offered as part of the free report. If you want your credit score, you will have to purchase this separately from one of the three reporting agencies.”
The first few times I went to get my score, I had not bookmarked the site and almost got tricked into buying credit protection plans, free iPods, monthly subscriptions to reporting agencies, assorted “coffee of the month” clubs and Martha Stewart’s Living. Ok, the last 2 are made up, but really, be careful when you go for your free report..make sure you go to the actual site. Since we get them 3 times a year, I pick 3 dates in my calendar for the upcoming 12 months, with 4 months in between dates, and then go get the report when the reminder shows up in my calendar. Make sure you note which agency you get the report from, because you can only get a report from each agency once per 12 month period. Also, the credit report is free, but the credit score you have to pay a few bucks for. If you are on the same schedule as me and have not gotten your last one for the year, go!