Copy of free credit reports are available from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, Before the passing of Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act in 2003, this copies used to cost $9.50 each.All these major credit reporting companies store up report in a centralized source, sent from credit bureaus, consumers are liable to get a onetime annual free report after every 12 months.
One has to initiate a request to get these report, its not sent automatically, there are three major ways a consumer can request for a free credit report, this by visiting the only authorized website annualcreditreport.com, or by calling a toll-free telephone number and a postal address.
One is advised to request a report from each of the three reporting companies since, your credit bureau can use either to send your report. You may notice variation from either report but one will completely offer you all what you need, you have a right to dispute any information, steps to dispute information is normally displayed on the report. If you disagree on any information, write a letter to the consumer reporting agency and attach a copy of the Credit Report, highlight the information you dispute for easy reference.
The information will go under a series of investigations, this takes about 30 working days, if the consumer report agency finds your claims to be true then they will send another copy of free credit rectified, attached you will also find a written report on the investigation.
You may ask why it takes that long to investigate, protocol has it that once a dispute letter is received from the consumer, the consumer reporting company must send this to the organization that sent the data for investigation, then after an investigation is conducted and a written report done its then sent to the consumer reporting agency for eventual submission to the consumer.
Below are the three ways to order for your report
Online- visit www.annualcreditreport.com , which is the only authorized source for consumers to access reports annually, these site will ask for basic personal information so as to prove your identity, they will not ask you for your credit details. Beware of imposter sites that claim to do this then end up charging for services you did not intend to have.
By Phone. There is a set toll free number (877) 322-8228, this may be a choice for those who are not able to use internet, getting reports will take about 15 days.
By mail. By completing the form on the annual credit report request page brochure and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. you will get response within 15 days.
These credit report companies will never contact you in any way to ask you for your personal information. Ignore such requests.