|Before you call that number or visit that website to order a free credit report, make sure you are not doing business with a company that claims to offer free credit reports, but requires you to purchase other products and services first.
A new law is now requiring commercial websites that offer free credit reports to include a box that states, "You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law."
To order free copies from each or all of the three credit reporting agencies within one year, use one of the following three methods:
- Ordering on the Internet: visit here. This is the official address; many other fradulent addresses exist. If you make a request online, you should be able to access the report immediately.
- Ordering through a toll-free telephone number: call (877) 322-8228; your credit report will be processed and mailed in about 15 days.
- Ordering your credit report by mail: complete the order form here and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Persons ordering a credit report will have to provide the following information: name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and previous address if it has changed in the past two years.
"To maintain the security of each consumer's file, the credit reporting agency may ask for some information that only you would likely know. Each company might ask for different information," said Janet LaFon, University of Missouri Extension family financial information specialist.
The credit report will have all of the information that is in a person's credit file maintained by the credit reporting agency. It will include the information that is provided to those who have legitimate access to your file (such as lenders).
"The credit report also will list everyone who has received a copy of your report within a specified time period, and certain personal information that is not included in reports given to others," said LaFon.