Check your free credit report to build financial security

Because credit reports are so important to everyday life (they can affect obtaining an affordable loan or insurance policy, getting a job, or renting a home) federal law gives everyone the right to request three free credit reports each year. You can request the reports from AnnualCreditReport.com—one each from the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. There are three ways to order your free credit report: through the mail, by phone toll free, or at the official website AnnualCreditReport.com.

“Sometimes incorrect information is a simple data entry error, and other times, it could be a sign of fraud,” says Peggy Olive, UW-Extension/UW-Madison Financial Capability Specialist. “It is up to each individual to look over his or her own credit report for old information that should be removed, common mistakes, or signs of identity theft. Better to discover an error yourself then to have a creditor find it first.”

The University of Wisconsin-Extension “Check Your Free Credit Report: 2/2, 6/6, 10/10” campaign seeks to make the process of ordering a free credit report as easy as possible. Anyone can sign up to receive an email reminder from UW-Extension three times a year—on 2/2, 6/6, and 10/10. While you can order all three reports at the same time, UW-Extension recommends that you view one report every four months so you can be sure that the information is up-to-date and accurate year round.