A Deep Dive Your Free Credit Report

All consumers are entitled to a free credit report each year from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies.  These credit reporting powerhouses are:

Poster, “Hold on to Your Social Security Card” – NARA – 514504 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process involves a screening procedure to ensure that the person requesting the report is the person they claim to be.  The security standard is understandably quite strict.  Those seemingly dumb questions regarding old addresses, bank accounts, names of pets and so forth are not there to annoy you.  Credit professionals refer to these as “out of wallet” questions because the answers are not readily available in a lost or stolen wallet. This is the way of protecting you from fraud.

If you make a mistake through nervousness or forgetfulness it is likely that you will be shut down from instant internet access out of an abundance of caution.  If you are unfamiliar with the use of computers or get nervous easily don’t worry.  This is not cause for panic.  You can call at (877) 322-8228.  You can log in to for a form they provide to order written reports by mail.   You can also get that particular report the old fashioned way.  This means sending a letter to them with your name, address, date of birth, previous address, social security number, copy of driving license and utility bill or social security card to positively identify yourself beyond any doubt.  The entire process should take no more than 2 weeks.  You can request any report or all 3 at once if you wish.  This letter goes to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta Ga, 30348-5281

Credit Reporting Agencies Charge for Reports

It is common for people to get frustrated when dealing with and try to go directly to the credit reporting agency for the agency’s own report.  If you do this you can expect to be charged for the report.   Expect upselling for services you really don’t need as well. May Have Flagged your Reports

Occasionally it happens that a consumer is frustrated by their access being blocked for seemingly no reason.  This is a situation where it is natural to feel angry and frustrated which of course will do no good whatsoever.  The file may have been flagged for extra precautions.  Your access can be walled off by for further investigation. This can be caused by several factors including

  1. The address may not be in the system because the consumer has moved and no one has informed the credit reporting agencies
  2. A number may have been transposed or some other data entry mistake made along the line
  3. A middle initial may have been added or subtracted or Jr or Sr mistakenly entered
  4. A credit repair company or car dealer may have requested it through this service without you realizing that anyone’s request counts as your yearly request
  5. Someone may have fraudulently sought access to your information
  6. You got nervous and gave a wrong response to one of those “stupid questions” they ask you.  These stupid questions are not so stupid at all.  They are asked for your own protection. Questions that only you would know the answer to are sometimes referred to as “out of wallet” questions.  This is because someone who found or stole your wallet might find out a lot about you but there are certain things a stranger just does not know.  Former bank accounts, loans that may or may not be yours, former addresses are just some examples.  One wrong answer and the algorithm shuts your request down.  Now you will have to ask for it the report(s) in writing with copies of ample proof that you are who you say you are.

These credit reports are the CAT scan used to diagnose your personal credit situation at that particular point in time.  Of course no sooner do you have them than they become obsolete since information can be added or subtracted at any time.  You have to begin somewhere.  Be diligent in your approach and enjoy your journey to good credit.  The credit repair process is actually quite interesting.

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