Some Help to Protect Your Credit

I recently found some inaccuracy on my credit report. No damage was done but someone tried to open up an account in my name. It was just luck that I happened to be doing a re-fi on my house and caught the activity. I have learned a few things that might help some other people to avoid this situation.

The first thing is how to get a credit report free of charge, one time a year from each of the three major reporting bureaus. If you go to annualcreditreport.com you can order your report. There is a charge if you want to get the Fair Isaac (FICO) score. The FICO is the main score lenders use in determining whether or not you get a loan and your interest rate. When I requested my score it was about 16.00 dollars. Keep in mind you can get your report with out the score for free once per year. I recommend requesting one report at a time in four month intervals. Each reporting company has to give you your report once a year if you request it. So if you request one every four months, alternating reporting company’s you can check for un-authorized activity all year long for free.

I also found out about putting a “freeze” on your credit. This may not be for everyone but for people who are very concerned about identity theft; this will let you sleep well at night. When you put a “freeze” on your credit no one can open a line of credit with out going through a procedure with the credit bureaus to “thaw” your credit. A credit freeze has not been available to the public until recently, except in a few states. Starting last year all the major credit bureaus allow anyone to put a “freeze” on there credit. The draw backs is that fees are involved, (10.00 dollars per bureau to freeze and 10.00 per bureau to thaw). Also keep in mind that a freeze can delay any new credit you want, so you will have to plan ahead. I apologize if any of the figures are not exact but they are close. I hope this saves someone from a big headache down the road.