Pull your free credit report to avoid financial turmoil, BBB advises

Better Business Bureau wants to make sure consumers don’t hit any unexpected bumps in the road this year, and is reminding consumers to check their credit report annually.

Clearwater, FL — Better Business Bureau wants to make sure consumers don’t hit any unexpected bumps in the road this year, and is reminding consumers to check their credit report annually.

The importance of pulling your credit report is to ensure the information being reported is accurate, complete and up-to-date. When looking at your credit report, look for these red flags of identity theft:

  1. Any inquiries not initiated by you;
  2. Any debts reported that are not yours; or
  3. Contact information, such as your address, that was changed without your approval.


The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

A credit report contains important information that can affect whether you can get a loan, and how much you will have to pay in order to borrow money. The information contained in a credit report is sold to and used by creditors, insurers and other businesses so they can evaluate applications for credit, insurance or renting a home.

Consumers looking to pull their free credit reports should visit annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized source for free annual credit reports under federal law. On this website, consumers can request their credit report from each of the three reporting agencies online, by phone or through mail.

BBB offers these tips for pulling your annual credit report:

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and pop-ups. AnnualCreditReport.com does not approach consumers via email, telemarketing or direct mail solicitations. Instead, go directly to AnnualCreditReport.com to request your free report.
  • Pull your child’s credit report. As child identity theft remains a national problem, it can be just as imperative to pull your child’s report as it is to pull your own. While the credit reporting agencies do not knowingly maintain credit files on minor children, you can contact the credit reporting agencies directly to see what information, if any, they have about your child.
  • Dispute inaccuracies. If you find inaccurate information on your credit report immediately contact the reporting agency you pulled the report from and file a dispute. Inaccurate, derogatory information can lower your credit score, and in some cases, may indicate possible fraudulent activity.

    About BBB:  BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports®, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is a difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 114 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than three million local and national businesses and charities.

    This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

    Cassy Mills February 10, 2013 at 04:30 PM
    This is the best thing to do in order to avoid possible problems connected with the credit history in the future. We live in times when credit score plays such a big part in our lives. I do not understand why so many people are careless about it. I would have understood if they were ignoring to order a report because it was a pricey procedure (personally I would have even taken out cash advance for that if I needed to http://cashadvancesus.com/ ), but it is possible to order at least four free reports from four different credit bureaus. Thanx a lot for the article, I hope that more people will change their point of view after reading this post.
    Mark S. Hankins February 11, 2013 at 07:42 PM
    For most folks pulling their free credit report should be a no-brainer (and the "secret" fourth credit bureau is known as Innovis, in case you're wondering who rounds out the big three). But for those with serious ongoing credit defaults, the picture is more complicated and it is probably best to omit ordering the reports, at least during the first few years following the advent of the defaults. Creditors and collectors receive periodic updates from the credit reporting agencies, which include the debtor's current obligations, new address (if any), new job, or what-have-you. These may be triggered automatically at the CRAs' end if the creditor has subscribed to services with names like "reappear", "triggers for collection" or "collection triggers" or they may just be periodic updates the creditor itself orders. In either case, consumers often find they cannot get their free credit reports immediately online because the CRA requests by mail a drivers' license copy or a utility bill or some other proof of residence. This is NOT a protection for the consumer. The CRA has pre-sold new, solid, actionable address information (when available) to one or more creditors or collectors who have requested it. Providing what the CRA wants virtually guarantees that some collector who has been quiescent will again come after the consumer. For a consumer who may be waiting for the right time to file bankruptcy or carry out some other plan, it could be devastating.
    Alex Standt April 17, 2013 at 04:19 PM
    This article was awesome!! Thank you. Being fairly new to the credit score arena I am constantly trying to gather as much information as possible to try and keep myself headed in the right general direction. Spending some time on this post has actually given me a lot of great points to think about. In my recent research I have also been able to find some pretty useful information related to this topic when I Googled the credit locker university. This was helpful as well. Thanks again!


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