Thieves who want to obtain personal information have many ways to try to get this information. They use the information in an attempt to open credit accounts in the consumer’s name, leaving only the bills and the negative credit history to be sorted out by others.
One of the best ways that you can protect your personal information is to obtain a copy of your credit report at least once a year to review for any errors. The Federal government mandated that the three biggest credit reporting companies each provide a free credit report (not to include a credit score) to consumers at least once a year. To do this, the reporting companies joined forces to create Annual Credit Report.com.
There are three different methods of obtaining your credit report. You can visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call (877) 322-8228, or mail a standardized form (downloaded from credit reporting agency Web sites) to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
(Note: there are for–profit Web sites operating that give credit reports for a fee. The above-mentioned site is the official site as provided by Federal law.)
Credit Report Bonus: If you have any questions about how to read your credit report or if you have any other credit report questions, contact a trained representatives at the BALANCE program. The people at BALANCE have been contracted by University Credit Union to offer free unbiased, counseling to credit union members.
Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission publishes many helpful information pieces that explain identity theft and the steps you should take to guard your personal information. Click through to the FTC sites for information:
- A good overview of the identity fraud problem and suggestions to protect your personal information, furnished by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- To report an identity theft occurrence, obtain an identity theft affidavit, furnished by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
For more information on ways to protect your identity go to Guarding your Personal Information.