If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, are concerned that you may have been sued for debt but were never served with a summons and complaint, or if you simply haven’t looked at your credit report recently, it's a good idea to get a copy of it and take a look.
It’s smart to check your credit report at least once a year, because the credit reporting bureaus are notorious for reporting inaccurate information that can hurt your credit score and your ability to get or re-build credit. And if you are struggling with credit problems, your credit report contains a lot of information that will help you determine if there’s any emergencies you need to address (for instance, if the report reflects any judgments, you may be at risk of having your wages garnished or your bank account restrained), or decide how to best protect yourself from unscrupulous creditors. Being informed keeps you safe.
Under federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report each year from annualcreditreport.com. There are thousands of websites out there that want to take your money (and your identification information) allegedly in exchange for your credit report. Be very careful! Annualcreditreport.com is the only website that is federally authorized, and safe, and you can get your credit report there for free.
A good way to safely get to the site is to go to the website of the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC,” the federal agency that oversees debt collectors and credit reporting agencies) and access annualcreditreport.com from there.