Identity Theft Update - Preventing and Coping with Identity Theft

Why Credit Reports are Important and How to Get One

Why Credit Reports are Important
If an identity thief has stolen your identity, he/she is very like opening new credit accounts in your name. These accounts are likely to show up on your credit report. This is why it is important to regularly review your credit report so you can identify suspicious activity on your report and take action to stop it. The sooner you catch it the better. It is wise to order a credit report at least once a year to look for any suspicious activity. If you suspect your information has been stolen, or is being used fraudulently try to check it at least monthly.

How to Get Your Credit Report
An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

To order your free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies, visit:; call toll-free: 877-322-8228; or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print the form from Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually; they provide free annual credit reports only through, 877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Under federal law, you’re also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance or employment, and you request your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company that supplied the information about you.

You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud. Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for additional copies of your report.

If you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports.


  • Equifax,
  • Experian,
  • TransUnion,

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