Before you go out and purchase something on credit, the first thing you might want to do is obtain a copy of your Consumer Credit Report. This report contains all information about your credit history.
In 2003, United States President George W. Bush, signed the "Fair and Accurate
Credit Transactions Act". This law gives consumers the opportunity to obtain a Free FTC(Federal Trade Commission) Credit Report on a website through three organizations: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The website is www.annualcreditreport.com.
Government agencies caution you to be aware of fake credit report sites posing as a reputable organization. Fake sites will prompt you for more personal information (like bank account numbers, addresses, employment information) that can lead to fraudulent activity. Annualcreditreport.com will not ask for personal information.
When you access annualcreditreport.com, you will be prompted to provide some information: name, address, date of birth and social security number. The site will ask if you had moved in the last 2 years, so you may need to provide another home address.
Once you have applied for the report through the website, you will receive the copy immediately. If you utilized the toll free number-1-877-322-8228, then the copy will be sent within 15 days through the mail. If you do not receive the report within 15 days, you are encouraged to call the toll-free number.
States participating in obtaining a free credit report are: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont.
For a fee, you can go directly to Equifax (1-800-685-1111 equifax.com),
Experian (1-888-397-3742; experian.com) and TransUnion (1-800-916-8800; transunion.com).
If there are any mistakes or discrepancies on the credit report, consumers have the right to dispute these claims. Consumers must contact in writing to the reporting agency and the provider. Both parties have 30 days to respond to the claims. If the information is deemed inaccurate, the agency will contact the three nationwide agencies-Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to change the discrepancy. The consumer will be notified if the changes made to the credit report. If the dispute is not settled, you can ask to have this marked on the report.
A potential employer can not request a credit report unless you have authorized them to do so. More information about credit reports can be found at ftc.gov.