Did you know that the top three credit bureaus are offering free, weekly credit reports until April? Cybercrime is on the rise in 2020 with the advent of increased online shopping, and the best way to combat it is to protect your info as best as you can, and monitor your credit report for problems. It’s easier to put a stop to trouble if you know about it as soon as it happens.
Each of the top three credit bureaus offers a free credit report annually, so we generally recommend spacing them out over the course of the year – every four months or so. In the early months of 2021, it might not be a bad idea to pull one report each week, just to look for abnormalities and problems. Here are the top three things to look at when reviewing your credit report:
Is it correct? Have there been any changes? Do you have any accounts that were opened with a different address than the ones you’ve used? If so, it’s a red flag. For example, someone could be posing as you, or trying to obtain access to your accounts by changing your address to their address.
Are all of the accounts listed on your report accounts that you remember opening? Personally, I can list the number of credit accounts I have on one hand, so I would know immediately if there was a credit line listed on my account that I did not pursue personally.
Do you have any delinquent accounts, or delinquent payments on any of your accounts? It’s a good idea to make note when you are the reason to blame for a late payment, that way you can easily weed out possible errors. If you notice something odd on any of your accounts related to payment history, it’s a good idea to contact the source of the loan and inquire with them before reporting any errors to the credit bureau.
What do you do when you notice something is wrong?
The first step is to identify errors and contact the lender to inquire about the nature of the error. This is helpful if it’s an error on an account you opened personally. If it’s an account you don’t recognize at all, it’s best to notify the credit bureau immediately. Move quickly in reporting errors and fraud as soon as you identify that there’s a problem. You can find complete resolution instructions on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports
To get started pulling your free credit reports visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action