Saturday, May 07, 2005

Agency Credit Report Stalling

As you visit the credit reporting company’s site you may getthe impression that you must pay to see your “credit score”(also called a FICO score) before you are able to see yourfree credit report.This is not the case, your credit score is the numbercalculated on a scale between about 300 and 925. It is usedwhen you're buying a new car, house or other majorpurchases. You'll still have to pay one of the creditcompanies a fee to see that number. This credit score numberis different from the information within your free creditreport.The official site is separate from the credit reportingcompanies’ regular sites, where you still must pay to getyour credit information.In addition, there are a few look-alike sites you mayconfuse with the official free credit report site. Theseother sites may have been setup for outright credit fraud.Be very careful that you are working with the official sitesetup and maintained by Central Source, a joint ventureamong the three credit companies to process these freecredit reports -- www.annualcreditreport.com. If you receivean offer through the mail, via phone call or an email toprovide your credit report for a fee, it is probablyfraudulent.Here's how to Request your free Credit ReportOnline: www.annualcreditreport.com.Or you can call toll-free: 877-322-8228Or order by mail:Annual Credit Report Request Service,P.O. Box 105281,Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.If you request report by mail you must mail in a requestform available on the site of the Federal Trade Commission:www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/docs/factactrequestform.pdfThe reports are sent to you within 15 days.If you're ordering your report online, it's best to go tothe www.annualcreditreport.com site directly rather than togo through the one of the three credit reporting company’ssites. You may get your free report at their sites but youfirst must go through their advertising for monthlycredit-monitoring programs and other services they offer toget your free report.If you do this inquiry online, be sure to do your inquiryfrom your home computer because you'll need to have certainfinancial information handy to answer security questions.You'll be asked a series of personal questions to make sureyou are the person that you say you are, including yourbirth date and Social Security number.Central Source says its security protocols and measuresprotect personal information from unauthorized access orrecord alteration. In addition, your Social Security numberis encrypted for your additional protection.And you can request that just the last four digits of thatnumber appear on your printed credit report.As mentioned above, you may request one report from eachcredit company once a year. To get the best use of this freeservice, it's best to request your credit report from onecredit company this month and request your credit reportfrom another credit company about three-four months latter.Then request the third version of your report aboutthree-fo
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