ITRC Fact Sheet

How To: Obtain My Credit Report and Find and Fix Errors

 

Ordering your free credit report: 

All US Citizens and residents are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs) once a year.  The three main CRAs are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  The credit report will not include your credit score.  There are three ways to obtain this report:

You will also be able to obtain a free copy of your credit report if:

  • You're a victim of identity theft and provide an identity theft report from a law enforcement agency (Federal Trade Commission and/or police department)
  • If there is an adverse action (such as a denial of credit) based on information that affects your credit. In this instance, you can only obtain a free copy of the report(s) used to make the adverse decision.

If you've have already obtained your free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com, they will redirect you to each CRA’s website to purchase a copy of your credit report, or you can visit each credit reporting agency separately to purchase a copy.

What to look for in each section: 

Keep in mind that incorrect information may appear even if you're not a victim of identity theft.  Incorrect information may appear due to typographical mistakes and/or mistakes when filling out applications. 

Standard consumer credit reports include:

  • Header: This is personal information and includes your name, addresses (both current and former), date of birth, and Social Security number.
    • Look for changes in your personal information. They may have false or inaccurate previous addresses or even variations of your name and date of birth.
    • If you have a joint account with someone, their Social Security number may appear in this section. Look to see if a Social Security number of somebody you don’t recognize is being attributed to you.
  • Employers: As reported by you when you apply for credit. Keep an eye out for employers you haven't worked for.
  • Tax Liens and Bankruptcy:
    • Look for any liens or bankruptcy filings that are not yours.
  • 7- 10 Year Credit History: Each account should show the name of the company, account number, type of account, date opened, date of last activity, terms of payment, any negative information about the account, and date last reported.
    • Look for accounts that you don’t recognize or accounts you didn't open.
    • Look at accounts you have closed. Verify they are still closed and have not been re-opened.
  • Credit Inquiries
    • Initiated by the Consumer (“hard” inquiries): Inquiries due to an application for credit. Look for companies that you did not apply to for credit.
    • Other Inquiries (“soft” inquiries): Inquiries from companies that may want to send you pre-approved offers of credit or insurance, or inquiries by your existing lenders. To opt out of inquiries for pre-approved offers, visit optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-567-8688.

If you see a problem on your credit report:

 

  

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

ITRC Sponsors and Supporters 

 

 

 

 

Go to top

 

Need identity theft information on the go?

Download our ID Theft Help Mobile app.