Given the hacks we’ve seen in recent years, there are few people who haven’t had their identity stolen. While you, as an individual, can’t stop those breaches against some of the nation’s biggest retailers and financial institutions, there is something very simple that you CAN do: check your credit history.
There are three main credit reporting agencies in the U.S.: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Together, they have set up a system through which you can request one free credit report each year from each of their agencies. You have the choice of getting all three at once or spreading them out over the course of the year.
To request your free reports, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.
Your report will include any names you have used, your addresses, how much you owe your creditors, whether you pay on time, whether you’ve been sued and whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy. Each report collects slightly different information from different sources, so it is important to check all three—whether at the same time or spread out over time.
Why is it important to make sure each of these reports is accurate? This may be your first indicator that someone is committing fraud in your name. In addition, these credit agencies sell this information to creditors, employers, insurance companies, and other businesses. The information in this record may make a difference in whether you get a mortgage, new car loan, new credit card, get a job or pass a rental screening.
Continue reading: FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense with Credit Reports — FBI