Credit Report Fraud Alert And Credit Monitoring Service

If you found something suspicious on your last credit card billing statement or if you feel you are at risk of identity theft, you should take action immediately. As soon as you suspect any of this, you should have a credit report fraud alert on your accounts. This will help detect further suspicious activities and stop them before doing any damage.

What is a fraud alert?

Fraud alert is a free service from the three credit reporting bureaus where every business, lender, or agency who checks your credit report will be notified of such alert. They will then take extra steps to make sure that you are indeed the one responsible for the activity. Verification will be in the form of a phone call, personal appearance or any extra measure to make sure that you have authorized it. No transaction will be considered successful unless the company has verified that the request has been made by you when there is a fraud alert.

There are two kinds of fraud alert; an initial fraud alert that lasts 90 days and an extended fraud alert that lasts seven years. The initial fraud alert is for individuals who suspect that they will be victims of identity theft and entitles you to a free credit report from all three bureaus. The extended fraud alert, on the other hand, is for those who are already victims and entitles you two free credit reports from all three bureaus on the first year and one report from each agency on the succeeding years. Both need a copy of the identity theft report. You are only required to send a fraud alert to one bureau and they are responsible for notifying the other two agencies.

Credit monitoring

If you do not feel confident about the free fraud alert or if you want to take extra measure in securing your accounts, you can avail of a credit monitoring service. The cost ranges from $10 to $20 per month. It is a paid service with a company where they will monitor your credit activities in one, two or all three bureaus every single day and will notify you of any inquiry or activity.

Choosing a credit monitoring service

There are a number of credit monitoring services available. The three major credit reporting bureaus have this service and there are independent websites that do too. So how do you choose? Choose a credit monitoring service that includes monitoring of all three credit bureaus to be safer and to get the most bang out of your buck since there are those that only include one or two.

It has been a concern that identity theft may happen undetected because it occurs in establishments that do not report to credit reporting agencies such as cable and cellphone companies. For this reason, there are credit monitoring services that cover a wider range in order to protect you. So choose a service that includes all areas of your concern.

Get Your Free Credit Score Report Online

Home and car loans, mortgages, some insurance and some jobs are dependent on the individual’s credit report and score. A good credit report and score can get you the most favorable deals and a bad one can deprive you of one. It is advised to check your credit history and score regularly to make sure that all activities accounted for on your credit report are only yours and to detect identity theft as soon as possible. There are paid services for getting copies of credit reports and score but there are free ones as well. Find out where to get your free credit score report online.

Credit report Free Credit Score Report Online

Credit reports are a detailed history of a person’s credit line. It includes credit card, home loans details, and banking institutions. Found on the report are personal identifying information such as name, address, work history, and Social Security number. It is used to determine the individual’s credit-worthiness.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act has mandated the credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to furnish consumers with one free credit report every year. This can be requested online through the website of their central unit Annual Credit Report (www.annualcreditreport.com), by phone or by mail. This free annual credit report includes a credit report from all 3 of the major bureaus.

What happens after the annual free credit score report online?

You can purchase a copy of your credit report and score from the website of one of the three credit reporting bureaus for $14.95 or all three for $39.95 prices may vary). There are countless websites that offer free credit reports although none are authorized by the government so be sure that you only visit well-reputed websites.

Credit score

Credit scores are computed using the information found on the credit report. The 3 major credit reporting bureaus use the FICO model to compute the scores. It is the most widely used model for credit score computation. Credit scores are a three digit number ranging from over 800, the highest score to around 300. These scores then have a corresponding rating such as excellent for a score of over 720 and risky for any score lower in the range of 300.

The FACT Act unfortunately does not require the three major bureaus to give out free annual credit scores. Just like credit reports, free credit scores are available online on countless websites. If you wish to only transact with the government authorized agencies, credit scores can be purchased at any of the three major bureau’s websites.

My reports and scores are not the same

Credit reports and scores are not identical in any two bureaus although some information will be found in all three reports. What you find in your credit report with Experian may not be available in TransUnion. Some companies and financial institutions will only update your record in one of the bureaus. Since credit scores are computed using the credit report, they will vary as well.

How Many Free Credit Reports Per Year Are You Entitled To?

So you know that credit reports and scores matter to loans and that you have an idea that there’s a free credit report somewhere. Wondering how many free credit reports per year you are entitled to? Wondering where to get them? Find out in this article

How many free credit reports per year

The government passed Fair and Accurate Transactions Act, or FACT Act entitles every American citizen one free credit report from each of the major credit reporting bureaus every year. The major bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. When you request for your free annual credit report, you will receive one from each of these bureaus.

How to order the free credit report How Many Free Credit Reports Per Year

There are three ways to request for it. One is by phone and will be sent to you through mail, second is by mail and will be sent to you the same way and last, through online at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you request for your report online, you will get your report almost instantly but are required to save it for future reference. Once you have exited from the report, you might not be able to access it again. If you opt to request for it through mail or phone, your hard copy will be sent within fifteen days after receipt of your request.

What is required to request for a copy?

There are no requirements in order for you to successfully request for your credit report or score. If you order it over the phone or online, you will simply be asked some identifying information such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. Although more information may be required to help identify your record. These are usually details that only you would know about including credit card credit limit, past address if you have transferred, work information and so on. A simple request form should be filled out and sent along with your mail request.

What to do with that credit report

Once you receive your credit report, what should you do with it? Take a good look at it. Check for any errors and when you find one, no matter how petty it may seem, report it. A small incorrect detail could potentially pollute your good credit name. After all, you want improve your score not lower it. Identity theft can be easily detected through a credit report monitoring too so the earlier you see the unusual activity on your report the sooner this can be fixed.

Credit reports come with a guide to help you understand it better so you will have to study it to read the report well. You can then take necessary steps to ensure that you have a good record. If you are doing poorly, a credit report check should signal a wake-up call.

What about the credit score?

The free annual credit report does not include a credit score. Credit scores are to be purchased individually at the different credit reporting agencies. Credit report with score costs around $14.95. You should know your credit score may not be the same across all three bureaus. That is because of the information that is available to each of the bureaus. What is available to one may not be available to the others.

Credit Report Inquiry Drops Score By 80 Points

A woman was car shopping one day, confident that she will get a good auto loan since her credit score is fair. She was surprised when she was turned though. The car agent explained that her rejection was credit-based. So she requested for a copy of her credit report and score but was even more surprised to find that her score dropped by 80 points. 80 points is a big drop that caused her rating to go from fair to bad. She couldn’t figure out what has caused it and the only possibility was that the inquiry did.

Has the car loan inquiry really caused the score to drop by 80 points? Very unlikely. There must have been something else that she was unaware of that affected the score. According to one FICO score insider, an inquiry may only cause a 5 point drop in your credit score and no more than that. In fact, inquires for auto loans, student loans and mortgages are not taken into account for the first thirty days. These inquiries are grouped in 45 day increments after the initial inquiry. But even then, they are only counted as one inquiry. So an 80 point drop is close to impossible for an auto loan inquiry.

Check Credit History Free Online

If you want to check your credit history online for free, you have two ways of doing that. You can either go to the authorized website, annualcreditreport.com or through the other credit reporting websites.

Why you should check credit history

Your credit history or report is a collection of all your credit-related activities from current and previous bank check credit history free onlineaccounts, current and previous credit card details to mortgages. It takes into account every minute detail including late bill payments. Some entities then judge you by this record. Let’s say you want to get a house loan, the lender will check your credit history to help him decide on whether or not to grant you one and it can even determine how good of a deal they will give you. Using your credit report, these agencies can tell if you are a risk to them or not. So use your free report to determine if you should and how you could improve your score.

I can give you two reasons why you should check your credit history. One is to check to make sure that everything under your name is correct and second, to make sure that you are not a victim of identity theft. Misinformation can cause your score to drop and you may be declined a loan, insurance or mortgage for that very reason. That is why you should make sure that the details on your credit history are correct. Many people have detected identity theft by the checking their credit report. If your social security number, address or other personal information is inaccurate, then you must file a dispute to get all of your credit reports corrected.

Where to check credit history free online

As I mentioned, you have two options in getting your free credit report. It is highly advisable that you go to the Annual Credit Report website before subscribing to any other website. It is the only website that is authorized by the government to give out credit reports and by law, you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months. This does not include the credit score though, you will have to pay extra for it. Getting your free credit report is very simple. All you have to do is go to the website and provide all the necessary identifying information about you. This includes Social Security number, work information and personal information but never credit card details. When you complete application, you will be sent three credit reports. These are credit reports from each of the three official credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

The other credit reporting websites where you could get a free credit report are not authorized by the government to do so. Because of this, take extra precaution when filling out their subscription. Some of these websites will claim that they need your credit card details in order for them to locate your credit history. Yet there are those that do not require credit card information. When you give out such details, you are risking getting billed. Avoid giving out this information. If you should proceed with one of these websites, be sure to read their terms and conditions very carefully.

Expedite Credit Report Disputes

If you have experienced trying to dispute an error in your credit report or score, you know how hard it is to finally correct it. From the misunderstandings with the agency to the length of time it takes to apply the necessary changes. There are three things that you can do to expedite the process if you are disputing an error now.

The first one is to specify the correction and focus only on it. Be sure that you are clear on what you want corrected and do not deviate from the matter at hand. The more straight-forward you are, the less chances of confusion between you and the agency. Second is to provide all documentation that will substantiate your case in the dispute.  This will save time on having to correspond back and forth. Last advice to expedite the dispute process is to e-mail what you can. As we all know, e-mail is much faster than snail mail. So as long as you can send all supporting documents through e-mail, you can save days over snail mail in reaching the credit bureau.

How To Start Working On Your Credit Report And Score

So you have heard all about credit reports and scores and want to build your own but you don’t know where to start. Start with getting your free annual credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report once a year. Just head on over to the website annualcreditreport.com to get yours online. If you opt to get it online, be sure to save it for future reference. You may also have it sent to you by mail, that way you have a hard copy.

Then study your report. Look closely to ensure that there aren’t any errors. Pay close attention to numbers since this is most susceptible to inaccuracies. Should you find unusual information, take all necessary steps to correct this.

The free annual credit report does not come with a credit score. Scores can be purchased as an added service but it’s not mandatory. Looking at your report alone should give you an idea on whether you have a good or bad credit score. The last step is to do your best to improve your score. There are many ways you can improve it including paying on time, making advance payments and keeping accounts active.

Yearly Free Credit Report Gov

Before the The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003, or FACTA, consumers had to pay $9.50 for a copy of their credit reports from the three credit reporting bureas; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Now, you can conveniently request for your yearly free credit report gov or from the government. This is a benefit that you now have and should take full advantage of to raise your credit score. Take note that the free annual credit report does not include a credit score, it can be purchased as an added service. Here are the things that you should know about the yearly free credit report gov:

Yearly free credit report govHow can I request for my free annual credit report?

You can request for your free annual credit report in one of three ways; phone, internet or by mail. There is a central unit that the three bureaus have established to give out free credit reports. You can reach them through the website annualcreditreport.com, a toll-free hotline with the number 1-877-322-8228 or send your request by mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. If you wish to send a request by mail, be sure that you fill out and include in the mail the Annual Credit Report request form.

The Federal Trade Commission or FTC advises consumers that the best and safest way to order their credit report is by mail.

What is the fastest way to order my free annual credit report?

You will be able to access your free credit report almost immediately through the website. But be sure that you save a copy of it on your computer because you might only be able to access it once. Once you log out, you can’t access it freely again.

How long will it take for a credit report requested through mail or phone?

If you sent your request by mail, it will be sent to you within fifteen days upon receipt of your request. If you requested through the hotline, it will be sent out within fifteen days as well. Your credit history report might take longer to get to you if more information is required in order to verify your identity.

What information is required in requesting for a yearly free credit report gov?

The four basic identifiers that you are required to give are your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. Don’t be surprised if you will be required to provide a previous address or other information only you know of such as insurance, mortgage and loan details, this is for added security. Credit card details are never required so be extra careful with this information especially when requesting for your credit report online. Double check that you are on the authorized website because there are countless others that offer free services.

Warning

The FTC asks consumers to take extra precaution when dealing with website that claim to offer free credit report and score. Some will simply steal your personal information so don’t give out your credit card details to anyone and others will give you inaccurate information and charge you for their service.

All Three Credit Reports And Scores Myths

You might think you have credit report and scores all figured out. But what you think is right may actually be affecting your credit score. Read on to find out the myths around all three credit reports and scores.

Overdues are NOT okay, not even once in a while

In 2009, the The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was passed. It required lenders and similar institutions to lessen the penalties for late payments and overdues. This got the people to thinking that making a late payment every once in a while will not affect their score when they get a cheap credit score report. This is very untrue.

While the penalties, fees included, for a late payment is less harsh than it was before the said Act was passed, it did not lessen the damage of a late payment on one’s credit report and score. Late payments can still negatively affect an individual’s credit score. In fact, on-time payments play a very big role on your credit report with about 35% attributed to your credit score. So be sure to pay those bills on time and never think that one late payment will not have an adverse affect on your credit score because it will.

Marriage will NOT improve your credit report and score

Some people think that upon getting married, their credit score will improve because their partner’s credit score is very good. It’s not like addition where 5, being your partner, plus 3, you, equals 8. These scores cannot be added together. You should know that when you get married, you will have a credit together with your partner but you will still maintain your own.

Lisa, had a good credit score report. Her husband had a very good score so she decided to focus on her husband’s credit score. She started using his name for all of their credit related activities. They got divorced. So what happens to her credit report and score? She is left to start all over again. She has not had much, if any, credit activities under her name so she will have to start rebuilding it.

That is why it is important to never neglect your credit history even after marriage. Remember that it is your own record.

Simply calling the credit bureau for an error on your report is NOT good enough

Most people think that once they find an error in one of their credit reports, all they have to do is call the bureau concerned and the rest will be taken care of. This fictional solution is pure fantasy. Calling the credit bureau is not enough. You should not only contact the bureau in question but inform all three credit reporting bureaus. The best thing to do is provide information why the error is an error. You must furnish proof and send a hard copy by mail. Do not forget to keep a copy for yourself too.

You should send a dispute request to all three bureaus even if it only appeared in one report to make sure that it does not appear again. You should also do a follow-up until the corrections have been made. Chances are, actions will not be taken to correct the error until you become persistent.

More Free Credit Report and Score Options

Free credit report and score offers are available on countless websites all over the internet but there are only four websites recognized by the US government to obtain your credit reports. These websites are annualcreditreport.com and the official websites of the three credit reporting bureaus namely TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Here are other things you should know.

How to get free credit report and score?

When visiting the above mentioned sites, you will be asked for a few verification questions and then you will free credit report and scorehave access to your credit report instantly. There is no free credit report and score service available on any of these websites. Credit scores can be purchased for roughly $10. You can get a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the credit bureaus, other than that it has to be purchased unless you have been denied credit. Then, you have the legal right to another copy.

Do I need a free credit report and score

You need to check your credit report once a year for any discrepancies and detect identity theft. You will also want to check it months before you intend to apply for a loan, mortgage or any form of credit to see where you stand. If you are looking for a job, it will also be helpful to see how accurate your credit report is.

How important is my credit report and score

A good credit report and score is essential to saving you a significant amount of money and securing opportunities such as a loan or a job. Your credit report and score is used by lending companies and insurance companies as a basis for determining your risk factor. With it they can either reject your application or increase your monthly premiums. Employers often check a job applicant’s credit report to see how financially responsible you are, also.

But I don’t have a credit history

Even if you think you don’t have a credit history, make sure that it is so by getting the free credit report and score from the official websites. A student loan and a bank account will appear in your report and is considered part of your credit history. If in fact you have no credit history in your report, you can start building it by opening a bank account and applying for a credit card. Store credit cards will also help. But, you can afford to pay in cash? Keep your credit card active by using it and paying it in full at the end of every month. That way you are creating a good credit history but not paying interest rates.