*And not be scammed.
1. Remember that there is only legitimate site to retrieve your free credit report: annualcreditreport.com. All the other websites with a variation on the name are NOT part of the government’s program that provides free credit reports.
2. For safety reasons, you should always directly type in the address into your browser. That extra 5 seconds of typing is worth it.
3. You are entitled to a total of three free credit reports per year, one from each of the three credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
4. A credit report should not cost you any money. Your credit score (FICO) is separate from the free report you will receive, and does require payment.
5. Don’t fall for scams! During my apartment search, I’ve emailed a couple of listings only to be told that I need to provide my credit score just to see the apartment, and that if I don’t know my credit score I can handily get the information for free at PleaseScamMe.com.
Keeping tabs on my credit report is something I need to do better – I just pulled my first free credit report in more than a year! Thankfully, everything looked all right, so I’ll pull my other two credit reports later in the year. From now on, I plan to do a credit report pull every 4 months.