Hopefully by now you are aware that you are entitled to free copies of your credit reports once per year because of a federal law known as the FACT Act. And you may also know that the only sources for the free reports designated by that law are:
Mail: Download and print the request form from the above site and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Your access to the free reports doesn’t necessarily end there, though. You can get additional free reports from each of the three bureaus if you:
Live in one of these states
If you reside in one of these states you can actually get six free reports per year since you get reports from each credit bureau separately. If you wanted to, you could space out the timing of the reports so that you can look at a new report once every two months.
Were denied credit, employment or insurance
You are entitled to free copies of any credit report that was used to take adverse action against you. Fore example, if you get turned down for a credit card because a potential creditor saw some collections accounts on your TransUnion credit report, you get a copy of that report for free. If they looked at all three reports in making their decision, you get copies of all three reports. You need to contact the credit bureaus within 60 days of being notified of the adverse action to take advantage of this opportunity. The information about which reports were used in the decision and how to contact the bureaus will be listed on the notice you are sent by the organization that took the adverse action.
Are unemployed and looking for work
If you are out of work and will try to find a job within the next 60 days, you can contact the credit bureaus to get a free report from each of them.
Receive government assistance
This is another case in which you could get six free reports per year, or even nine reports if you live in one of the states that gives you a free extra report.
Believe you have been the victim of identity theft
If you believe for any reason that you may have incorrect information on your credit report because someone has stolen your information, you are entitled to a free report from each of the three bureaus.
If any of the above applies to you, contact the credit bureaus directly to get your extra free report or reports. Here’s the contact information for each bureau:
It’s always best to get your credit reports either from the consolidated service set up by federal law or through the credit bureaus directly. Although there are several companies advertising “free credit reports,” these reports are often only partial reports that come with strings attached in the fine print, like monthly recurring payments charged to your credit card.
Also keep in mind that accessing your own credit reports never impacts your FICO credit score – the overwhelmingly most common score used by lenders.