I’m sure you’re all familiar with that catchy little jingle. The one that goes, F-R-E-E that spells FREE, credit report dot com baby. I love the song (it’s catchy), but I hate the message. Personally I think freecreditreport.com deserves a swift backhand to the jugular. It infuriates me that the company markets itself as a free credit report service, when in fact it is a we-hope-you-don’t-realize-you-are-signing-up-for-a-monthly-subscription-service.
Yes, your initial report is free, but they charge the bajeezes out of ya 30 days later if you don’t cancel the contract you probably didn’t know you signed. Unfortunately, freecreditreport.coms catchy tune has polluted the minds of millions of Americans and have become the industry standard.
Don’t worry though, there is a way to check your credit report, three times a year, for free. As in it ain’t gonna cost you a thing free. Annualcreditreport.com is THE ONLY legitimately free, no strings attached, way to check your credit report. No fishy business going on here (it’s endorsed by the federal government). All you do is punch in a little information and within a few minutes you have full access to your credit report. No contracts, no subscriptions, no sketchiness. Booya grandma!
So now that you know how to check your credit report, it’s important you understand WHY you should check it. I do so for one reason and one reason only; To make sure everything is a-okay. I can look back through all the credit accounts I’ve had, over the last seven years, and double check that everything was reported to the credit agencies properly. I checked yesterday and let me tell you, it felt great seeing Sallie Mae showing “Paid in full.”
Not only can you check on the accuracy of any information on your report (and dispute any inaccurate information), but it also serves as the best tool to help spot identity theft. All it takes to open an account is just a little bit of personal information. What if someone has opened an account in your name without you knowing? If everything looks familiar on your credit report, than you’re probably in the clear. If there are some random credit card accounts, held with companies you’ve never heard of, there’s a good chance you’re the newest victim of identity theft.
Keeping up with your credit report (even if you have no debt at all) is just as important as maintaining a budget. It’s one piece of the whole personal finance puzzle. A very important piece mind you. If you haven’t checked your credit report in the last six months, go do it now at annualcreditreport.com (and if you’re wondering if I was compensated for this post or sponsored by them in any capacity, I wasn’t. Although, if they offered me compensation I would gladly take it :))
When’s the last time you checked your credit? Have you ever been fooled by a freecreditreport type company? Ever been the victim of identify theft? Was it as big of a headache as I imagine it would be?