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Prevent Identity Theft No Telemarketers
Free Credit Reports Your FICO Score

No Telemarketers

I advise clients register on the Federal Government's "Do Not Call Registry".  Select the  National Do Not Call Registry so you can sign up.


Free Credit Reports

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act was passed to help combat identity theft.  Under this new federal law everyone is now entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit-reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) each year.  You may also check your credit reports before making a big purchase such as a car, boat or house.  This information can help reduce interest rates. 

The official web site to request the free reports is www.annualcreditreport.com or you can call toll free 1-877-322-8228.  This official web site can also be accessed through the FTC’s web site at ftc.gov/freereports.  Make sure you use one of these official web sites to access your reports because imposters and scams are already popping up. 

You do not need to purchase anything, including “free” credit monitoring which will not be free after 30 days, from the credit-reporting agencies in order to get your free reports.  You should check all three of your credit reports each year to make sure you are aware of all accounts open in your name and that the amounts you owe are correct.  If you notice anything incorrect on your credit report, notify the credit agency as well as the creditor.  Call both parties, but also document your request in writing.  Credit-reporting companies must investigate the claim unless they deem it “frivolous”.  If they find the information is wrong, the company that provided the information must notify all three credit-reporting agencies.  Then the credit agency must give you a free, corrected credit report, which does not count as your annual freebie.


Your FICO Score

FICO stands for Fair Issac Corporation; the company that created the formula that calculates this three digit score.  Many people think credit score, but really it is your FICO score.  Your FICO score determines your interest rates on car loans, credit cards, home mortgages and even your health and auto insurance premiums.  Your FICO score is based on these criteria:

  • Paying your bills on time (35%)
  • Total debt owed versus total credit limit (30%)
  • Length of credit history (15%)
  • New applications and accounts for credit (10%)
  • Mix of credit cards and loans (10%)

After making sure your three credit reports are correct you should check your FICO score.  Because there are three credit reporting agencies you also have three FICO scores, but unless you’re buying a house there’s no need to check all three.  It’s important if you are making a big purchase to find out which credit agency the company you are dealing with is using and then check that score yourself.  The cost to check your score is $14.95 per agency.  Again, don’t be fooled by cheaper alternatives, they are not reputable agencies and will not give you accurate information.