You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Request your reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and follow these additional steps as well:
- Carefully review the reports from each agency because they don’t necessarily collect the same information. Make sure all the accounts listed are accurate, and if you see an account that isn’t familiar, immediately contact the reporting agency as it might be a sign of identity theft.
- For additional security, consider placing credit freezes to limit access to your credit reports. For this service, each agency will charge a modest fee to place a credit freeze or to lift the freeze in the future. And although the expense may seem unappealing, it can help prevent a fraudster from opening an account in your name.
- Closely monitor all of your credit card and bank statements. In many cases, they also offer services that will automatically alert you when charges are made.
Although it takes more time and effort, it’s important to stay on top of your credit and finances and to be very careful about protecting your identity and personal information.
The information on this page is provided for educational purposes only and is not tax, legal, financial planning or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this section constitutes an offer to buy or sell any securities or advisory products. The information provided is general and is not information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision and should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. You should not regard this information as a substitute for the exercise of your own judgment. Investing involves risk.