ITRC Fact Sheet 125
Federal Annual Free Credit Report Law (per FACTA)
In 2003, Congress approved the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act which allows each individual a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRA) every 12 months. This does not take the place of other laws that allow individuals to receive free reports if they are denied credit, discover there are errors in their reports or suspect identity theft. You do not need to purchase any additional services unless you choose to do so of your own accord.
To Order Your Report: The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up one central website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your annual report. To order, click on www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228.
Scam Alert: This is a consumer-driven system only. If you get an email or see a pop-up ad claiming it is from www.annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, it is likely a scam. Do not click on any link in the message and delete it without answering it. Any links or attachments may be a virus or other malicious content.
Stagger Report Requests: Since you are not required to order all 3 credit reports at the same time, unless you are a victim of identity theft, consumer groups are recommending that individuals stagger free report orders and create a free regular monitoring service for themselves.
Example: Order a report from credit reporting agency #1 in January, a report from CRA #2 in April, and a report from CRA #3 in Sept. or October. Since you must wait 12 months to request a new report from each agency, you can then order a report from agency #1 again in January. If you ever find any problems with a report, such as an account you never opened, you automatically qualify as a potential identity theft victim and should order the other two reports immediately, without charge, through the identity theft free report system.