When’s the last time you checked your credit? Been a while, you say? You’ve
probably seen commercials from services that offer to send you your credit
report free of charge. Don’t be fooled—most of those services are free only if
you sign up for another (not so free) product.
But there is a free way to monitor your credit, year-round, at no
You’ve probably heard of it, but have you actually used the site? You can get a free copy of your credit report from each
of the three reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—once a year. I
order a report every four months from one of them, which enables me to keep an
eye on my credit at regular intervals.
I know, I know—checking your credit isn't high on your list of exciting things to do. Unfortunately, it's important to make sure that your credit isn't suffering because of information on your report that's just plain wrong, or because Joe Identity Thief is using your name and social security number to buy a Winnebago.
Once you’ve got the report in your hand, scan it for inaccurate information
or even accounts that aren’t yours, which could signal identity theft. Make your
corrections by certified mail to ensure that there’s a record of your
It’s probably also worthwhile to get your credit score for an additional $5
to $8 with each report.
Do you actually check your credit report regularly? (Or is it perpetually on your