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Your Free Credit Report

Beginning December 1, 2004, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) required each of the three national credit bureaus to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  Here is what to do and what to avoid.

Beginning December 1, 2004, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) required each of the three national credit bureaus to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  Here is what to do and what to avoid.





How do I order my free report?
There are three ways to request your credit report:  via a website, toll-free telephone, and snail mail.

There Is Only One Website
For most of us the easiest and fastest way to obtain our free personal credit report is via the web.  Beware!  Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law.  That site is:  www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

There are perhaps hundreds of other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports”, “free credit scores”, or “free credit monitoring”.  These ARE NOT part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. Most of these just are hoping to sell you something – and that’s OK if you want to buy what they are selling.  

Careful though!  Some “imposter” sites may use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or they may just want you to give them your credit card number and other personal information . . . and you know what that means!

Toll-Free Phone
If you prefer to call, the toll-free number is 1-877-322-8228.  Again, this is the ONLY phone number that will put you in contact with the organization created by the FCRA to provide you with your free annual credit report.

Snail Mail
Finally, if you prefer the long way you can mail an “Annual Credit Report Request Form” and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You will find the form at our website www.Flalandlord.Com.  Select “Forms & Documents” from the Main menu.  

Annually or Three Times per Year
The changes made to the FCRA in 2004 provide for you to obtain your credit report once per year per bureau.  This means you may order your report from all three bureaus simultaneously or from one of the bureaus every three months or so.  Remember, just one report per year from each bureau.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if I find errors – either inaccuracies or incomplete information – in my credit report?

A: Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take full advantage of your rights under this law, contact the consumer reporting company and the information provider.

1. Tell the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate.
Consumer reporting companies must investigate the items in question – usually within 30 days – unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all three nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct the information in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting company must give you the written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. (This free report does not count as your annual free report under the FACT Act.) If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

2. Tell the creditor or other information provider in writing that you dispute an item. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct – that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate – the information provider may not report it again.

Q: How long can a consumer reporting company report negative information?

A: A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years. There is no time limit on reporting information about criminal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance. Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.