Credit bureaus offer free weekly reports until April
As COVID-19 has slammed the U.S. economy, new scams have surfaced, with criminals hoping to take advantage of people already affected by the pandemic. In response, the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – began offering consumers weekly access to their credit reports free until April 30, 2021.
Key points to remember
- Until April 30, 2021, you can get free copies of your credit reports every week from the three major credit bureaus.
- Normally, you are allowed free access to each of your credit reports once every 12 months.
- Regularly reviewing your credit reports can help you spot errors and fraudulent activity.
Why it’s worth checking your credit report
Your credit report is an important indicator of your financial health. If you have bad credit loans can be difficult to get approved for bad credit loans or credit cards. If you do, you will end up paying higher interest rates. The same goes for auto, homeowners and even life insurance premiums in many states.
At the onset of the pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau drew attention to the increase in coronavirus-related scams. Depending on the scam, criminals may try to steal your money, credit card information, social security number, or all of the above.
If someone gets their hands on your social security number, they can open fraudulent accounts in your name. In most cases, however, the only way you’ll know it’s happened (until the debt collectors start harassing you) is to check your credit report.
To aid consumers’ vigilance against identity theft, the three major national credit bureaus began offering free credit reports every week until April 2021. Previously, consumers were entitled to one free credit report per year of each office.
While reviewing your credit report won’t stop a cybercriminal from stealing your information and using it for nefarious purposes, it will help you spot fraudulent accounts early on, before they have a chance. negatively affect your credit score due to missed payments or high balances. If you spot inaccurate information or evidence of possible fraud, you should alert the credit bureau as soon as possible. All three offices explain the steps to do this on their websites.
While you can request copies of your credit report by phone or mail, the easiest and fastest way to view them is online at the official website, AnnualCreditReport.com.
Also note that some free credit monitoring services, including the one offered by Experian, will provide you with real-time updates when changes appear on your bad credit loans, such as new inquiries and newly opened accounts.