May 19, 2021 Have you Checked your Credit Report Lately?
If you haven’t checked your credit reports lately, now is a great time. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, credit monitoring companies Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian offer free credit reports weekly through April 20, 2022. Before the pandemic, you could check your credit report once per year for free. While checking your credit report weekly may be excessive, this is still an excellent opportunity to check your credit reports. You can access your credit reports through www.annualcreditreport.com. Some credit companies only report to certain credit bureaus, so it is good to review information from each agency. You can do that all at once or spread them out throughout the year.
What are you looking for on your credit reports?
When checking your credit report, some of the key things to look for are:
- Incorrect personal information such as names, birthdates, addresses, employment information
- Unrecognized accounts, loans, etc.
- Accounts incorrectly marked as closed or open
- Credit limits or balances that are inaccurate
- Review your payment history to make sure it’s accurate
- Unauthorized inquiries into your credit
What do you do if you find errors?
If you find any errors on your credit report, get them fixed as soon as possible. You will have to dispute the error to whichever credit bureau reported it. They will require some documentation depending on the error and can often be resolved online, by mail, or even by phone.
If you do find an account that you did not open and believe you have been a victim of fraud, start by contacting the company that opened the account to get it closed down. They will mark the account as fraud, which will help get it removed from your credit report. You can also report it to the individual credit reporting agencies.
You may also want to freeze your credit. Freezing your credit prevents anyone from running your credit to open another account in your name. If you need to extend credit in the future, you will need to temporarily unfreeze your credit to allow the lender to view your credit report.
The FTC has a website dedicated to steps to take if you believe you are a victim of fraud: https://www.identitytheft.gov/steps. You can also contact your Financial Advisor to make sure you are taking all necessary precautions.
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