How to Order Free Credit Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the nationwide credit bureaus to provide everyone copies of their credit reports at no charge once a year. One way to order your free credit reports is to go online to www.annualcreditreport.com. But another and perhaps easier way to order the reports is to call (877) 322-8228 and use an automated procedure set up for this purpose. Consumers should avoid the websites set up by Experian, Equifax and Trans Union that promise free credit reports but are designed to induce the purchase or credit scores and credit protection schemes of little or no value.

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Deceptive “Free” Credit Reports to Avoid

Consumers Union has released a report on the “free” credit reports available on the Internet that are not really free. The study looked at 24 sites were consumers are enticed to obtain free credit reports but only if they agree to pay for their credit scores and other services at the same time. Some sites offer free credit reports and free credit scores, but only if the consumer signs up for a credit monitoring service. Almost all the sites discouraged consumers from going to annualcreditreport.com, which is the one site where consumers may, once a year, get a free credit...

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Supreme Court Decides Fair Credit Reporting Act Case

The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides that a consumer may sue a business for actual damages if the business negligently violated the Act, but if the business willfully violated the Act, the consumer may sue for actual damage or statutory damages ranging from $100 to $1,000, and punitive damages. In cases in which actual damages are hard to prove, a consumer will be very interested in wanting to prove the defendant business “willfully” violated the Act in order to obtain statutory and punitive damages. On June 4, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court explained the meaning of the term “willful” as...

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7th Circuit Holds Credit Bureaus’ Disclosures Must be Clear & Accurate

On May 3, 2007, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian & Trans Union must provide consumers credit disclosures that are not only accurate, but “clear.” In Gillespie v Equifax, the plaintiffs requested their credit reports, which, among other things, listed the “date of last activity” on certain collection accounts. Depending on what event triggered the listing in this category, the report could lack clarity as to when delinquency had occurred. Having clarity on this point could be important to the consumer because, under FCRA, a consumer report may not include “accounts placed...

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What Consumers Don’t Know About Credit

What consumers don’t know about credit can really, really hurt them, according to James Scurlock. Scurlock produced the excellent new documentary, Maxed Out, as a result of Scurlock’s quest to find out why America can’t get itself out of debt. Scurlock’s Newsweek article this week makes five points: 1) A high credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you can pay your debts; it just means you have lots of available credit. 2) Banks will lend you more than you can afford to pay back because they make most of their profits on the least responsible consumers. 3) Bankruptcy is not an...

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