Credit Reports and Your Rights

April 14th, 2011, by

Q: I need help getting my credit report without paying for it. I also need help fixing my credit.
Dracut, MA

A: By law, getting your credit report for free is your right. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was amended to open up the credit monitoring process by forcing each bureau to provide all its customers, upon request, with a free credit report. So, you are entitled to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus–Experian, Equifax and TransUnion–every 12 months.

Go to AnnualCreditReport.com for the free reports or call 877-322-8228. When you get the reports, check to make sure all the
information is accurate. Please be mindful that AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site for consumers to obtain their free credit report.

You are also entitled to a free report because of where you live. Consumers in some states are eligible for a free credit report under state law. The following states have laws that make free credit reports available to consumers: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont.

Now, about fixing inaccuracies you may find in your reports. First, don’t fall for claims from companies that they can fix your credit. Many of these promises are scams. If the information in your credit files is correct, it cannot be fixed or removed.

You can, however, legally dispute any inaccurate information. There’s no cost to do it, and you can do it yourself. The Federal Trade
Commission Web site
has a lot of information about your rights and disputing errors, including a sample letter you can use.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:38 am