Do you know the best defense to protect your identity?

The best defense to identity theft is requesting a free annual credit report. It details all of your credit transaction accounts, and will be the first place that unusual charges or entirely new accounts will appear.

According to Annual Credit Report Website, here are some of the frequently asked Q&A:

What is a credit report? 

A credit report provides you with all of the information in your credit file maintained by a consumer reporting company. It includes consumer lender reporting, a record of everyone who has received a consumer report about you within a certain period of time, and even includes certain information that is not included in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as inquires of companies for pre-approved offers of credit or insurance and account reviews and any medical account information which is suppressed for third party users of consumer reports.

How do I request my free credit report?

This free credit report can be requested through the Annual Credit Report Website, by phone 1-877-322-8228 or by mail. (You must go to their website and download the request form)

How often can I request a free credit report?

You are entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from “each” of the nationwide consumer reporting companies- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This free credit report can be requested through their website, by phone or by mail.

Should I request all my credit reports at one time or space them out over 12 months?

It is entirely your choice whether you order all three credit reports at the same time or order one now and the others later. The advantage of ordering all three at the same time is you can compare them. On the other hand, the advantage of ordering one at a time is you can space them (one credit report every four months) is that you can keep track of any changes or new information that may appear on your credit report.

Where can I find information on disputing or correcting information in my credit file? 

Please contact the nationwide consumer credit reporting company that provided the credit report: 

How do I request a “fraud alert” be placed on my file?

You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer credit reporting companies place “fraud alert” in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult to someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your filing by calling just one of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then also must place alerts in your file.

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