The importance of checking your credit report at least once – preferably twice – each year is lost on so many. Your credit report contains the single most important number in your life; your credit score. This is the number that allows you the freedom you need in your life to do so many things that seem unimportant, but are not. You cannot apply for a loan with a low credit score. You cannot buy a car or a house without cash. You cannot apply for a credit card. You cannot even get certain jobs if your credit score is not high enough. This is an important number, and that’s why you have to check your report. The people that work for credit bureaus are not perfect. They are human and they make mistakes but if one of their mistakes is on your credit report, you need to know now. The last thing you want is to apply for a loan for the house of your dreams only to find out that someone accidentally made a mistake on your report and you do not qualify for the loan.
While mistakes like this are fixable, they take time and you can miss out on a lot this way. Additionally, anyone can get your personal information these days, and that allows them to apply for credit and ruin your score. You need to know if this happens as soon as possible so you can handle the situation before the damage is too severe. That’s what makes free credit reporting sites so awesome. You can check your score and report free of charge. But not all these sites are legit, which is why we want to help you learn to differentiate between legitimate credit reporting sites and those that are scamming you.
Look for Trials
If you are looking for a free credit report, do not go to sites that offer trials. This means that you are going to have to input your personal information and then your credit card information. You will get a free credit report but if you don’t cancel your subscription before it is up, you will pay far more for that report than you should. CNN states that freecreditreport.com is the worst site for this kind of issue.
Look for Credit Card Requests
Do you want to input your credit card information for a free report? The answer is no; skip this site and go elsewhere. There is absolutely no need for you to provide this kind of information for your credit report. It’s the first step in recognizing a scam.
Check for Misspelled Web Addresses
This is how many people and companies take advantage of people. If you misspell even one aspect of a credit report website, you could be taken to a fraudulent site that will likely steal your information and cause devastating damage. Make sure you check and double check that you’ve spelled everything correctly.
Do Not Fall for Commercials
Commercials on television and on the radio sound lovely, all about free credit reports and no hidden agendas, but most of those are not entirely truthful. Chances are good that you should ignore the commercials and ignore what they have to say about a new credit report; they’re not entirely accurate.
Do Not Respond to Emails
When a credit report company sends you an email asking for more information or telling you that your score has changed and you might want to do some checking into that, do not listen to the email. This is a phishing scam that allows thieves to get into your account and take your personal information. Do not respond, reply, or click on any emails of this nature – at all.
Take the BBB’s Advice
Use the service called AnnualCreditReport.com. This is, according to the Better Business Bureau, the only free credit report site you should use. The Federal Trade Commission states that this is the only site authorized by them to offer free credit reports on the basis that the federal government believes that all Americans have a right to a free report once every year.
Look for https or shttp Sites
The “S” in these sites means that they are secure. This means that your personal information is safe and secure, and likely that the site is legitimate. We’ve already asked you not to include your personal information but if you are doing to do it, at least do it on a secure site like this.
Pay for your FICO
The most common credit report out there is your FICO report, and you should get a copy of this. But be warned that you will typically pay around $40 for this. While most people assume this is a scam of some sort, we are here to tell you that it is not. This is the price, and it is the best credit report to track.
Get Ready for Personal Questions
When you do use a reputable site to obtain your credit report, you are going to need to answer a number of personal questions. These questions are anything about your financial history, even questions about where you might have lived at any given point. You have to answer these questions to obtain your report as the company is trying to ensure that no one has gotten your personal information in an attempt to steal your identity. Be warned that they might actually try to ask questions that are trick questions, too.
Understand that Extras Cost More
If you’re in the market for something along the lines of credit monitoring, you’ll want to be careful to go ahead and choose a company that offers these. Additionally, you’ll need to understand that additional services such as this do cost more, and that means that you are going to need to provide your credit card information. In this case, we recommend that you do. But be careful not to confuse this with free trial offers for other things that might end up costing you significantly.
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