Southern U.S. Now Eligible For Free Credit Reports
Just a reminder that, under the year-long roll-out of eligibility for free
yearly credit reports authorized under the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act (FACT Act), another region of the country came on line
on June 1.
Residents of the following states are now eligible to receive a free report
from each of the three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian):
If you live in one of the above states or in the West and Midwest which became
eligible in January and March respectively, go online to www.annualcreditreport.com
and request your report. Be smart about it, however, there are three major credit
bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Stagger free credit report requests;
from TransUnion today, from a second vendor in October, then in February from
the third. This gives you a full year's coverage before you start over
again in June of 2006.
You can also order by phone at 1 (877) 322-8228 or file a mail request at:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5811
If you order by mail, however, you must first download a request form using
Adobe from the above referenced web site. This seems to make this method of
ordering pretty much impossible for the computer impaired.
If you are ordering a report for a minor child (defined as less than 13 years
of age) you will be required to provide a copy of the child's birth certificate,
Social Security Card, and proof of your guardianship. This seems onerous, but
probably sensible given what is going on in the world.
The web site provides a caution that we had not thought about. Do not order
a free credit report through a third party. Many mortgage sites offer such a
service, but that allows one more set of hands for your private information
to pass through. Order directly from www.annualcreditreport.com or through one
of the three major credit bureaus: www.experian.com,
www.equifax.com or www.transunion.com.
While we reported
in April about the phenomenal increase of leaks from, hacks into, and the
outright selling of personal information by those in charge of our financial
well-being, it has gotten even worse since then. You must stay on top of your
credit history until somebody up there (in Washington we mean) takes realistic
steps to protect us.