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Credit Report – for free
Excerpts from Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column, published on August 3, 2005

Individuals can access important credit information for free. Why spend money unless it is required? Three times per year, individuals are allowed to request a complimentary annual credit report, from these three organizations: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Individuals are allowed to receive one free copy from each supplier, once per year. So, at no cost, call the toll free number 877-322-8228 and get your updated credit report every four months.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (, San Diego-based nonprofit, offers valuable counsel. Its July tip of the month: When ordering your free credit report, it's still better to call than order online. It's disturbing to learn that 100 imposter domains and 233 imposter sites are interfering with the federally mandated free credit report site. Some of these sites are showing up in search engine results, sometimes as paid listings that appear ahead of the official site.

To facilitate obtaining your current credit report, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests:

  1. When phoning the toll free number (877-322-8228) for your credit report, ask that only the last four digits of your Social Security Number be displayed when it is sent to you.
  2. If you use the toll-free number above to access your free credit report, be aware that if you have a strong accent or a complex last name, the automated phone system may not work.
  3. If you call for your report or have it mailed to you, ensure that your credit report is mailed to a secure mailbox.
  4. Know that you are not required to give out your e-mail address in order to obtain a federally mandated free credit report.
  5. If you order a free annual credit report online, take basic computer safety precautions. For example, ensure that your computer is virus-free and don't order your reports from a public computer or from work.
Individuals need current credit information for economic protection. Because of the growing cottage industry called identify theft, the risks are real, time consuming and can be costly.