Checking your credit at least once per year is very important. Most credit reports have errors that can be easily corrected. These mistakes can cause your credit score to be lower than it should be. One of the most important reasons to get a free yearly credit report is to catch identity theft early on.
Identity theft can take years to clear up if it is not caught early. By checking your credit report often and comparing the accounts listed to the accounts you have applied for your self is a simple task that will only take a few minutes of your time. Many thieves will apply for credit using your identity and a bogus address. They will run the account balances up but actually make the minimum monthly payments to avoid detection and apply for additional accounts using your good credit. If this goes undetected for an extended period of time it can be very difficult to get your credit fixed once the thief starts to default on these accounts. You may even want to consider checking your children’s social security numbers and credit reports for this activity. Many thieves are creating fake identifies using children’s social security numbers.
There are many resources online to get good credit report advice. You can get the cheapest credit report at the official annualcreditreport.com website. It’s actually free once per year without your credit scores. You can however purchase your credit scores for about $5 or $6 from each of the credit agencies while your on the annual credit report website. There are also many places that offer free credit scores if you sign up for a monthly credit monitoring or identity theft protection plan. This type of plan will set you back about $15 per month.
If you order a credit report online be prepared by having all of your personal information as well as information about what accounts are on your credit report. You will need to verify you identity with this information as a security measure to make sure no one else can access your credit file.