Google “free credit report,” and you’re likely to turn up all kinds of web sites such as credit reporting agencies offering you a look at your credit report and/or credit score. What these agencies may not tell you, however, is that you are entitled to receive a copy of your consumer credit report for free – from the federal government at http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
In an attempt to crack down on credit reporting agencies that don’t tell consumers that their credit reports are available under federal law, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent warning letters to 18 credit reporting agencies. Failing to tell consumers that a free credit report is available from the government violates the FTC’s Free Credit Reports Rule. The Rule requires credit reporting agencies and similar companies to tell consumers that a free, no-strings-attached credit report is available at two government websites, hhttp://www.annualcreditreport.com and http://www.FTC.gov . Agencies that don’t inform consumers of their right to a free annual credit report may be fined by the FTC – up to $3,500 for each offense.
The Free Credit Reports Rule is designed to prevent credit agencies from taking advantage of consumers. Many consumers don’t know that they have the right to examine their own credit report free of charge. Many businesses will offer a “free” credit report, but only on the condition that a consumer purchase other items or services, such as credit monitoring, from that business. In fact, you never have to buy something to view your credit report.
Keeping an eye on your credit report and credit score can only help you. Knowing your credit rating and credit report score helps you know when it’s time to fix bad credit or if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. If debt collectors start calling, your credit report will also help you understand why they called, as well as alert you if the debt is real or invented. You’ll also be prepared for a pre-employment credit check, since you’ll know what your prospective employer will see when they look up your credit report. Also, if any information on your credit report is inaccurate, you can challenge it under the Fair Credit Reporting Act before it can hurt you.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your credit rights as a consumer, visit our blog at www.micreditlawyerblog.com. Visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com.