Free Credit Report - Equifax, Experian, TransUnion
2015 : T-Mobile has to tell 15m users their data was stolen from Experian. Users never gave it to Experian.
*Credit monitoring services aren’t really built to stop thieves from opening new lines of credit in your name. If you wish to block thieves from using your personal information to obtain new credit in your name, freeze your credit file with the major bureaus. For more on how to do that and for my own personal experience with placing a "credit freeze."
Freezing your credit involves notifying each of the major credit bureaus that you wish to place a freeze on your credit file. This can usually be done online, but in a few cases you may need to contact one or more credit bureaus by phone or in writing. Once you complete the application process, each bureau will provide a unique personal identification number (PIN) that you can use to unfreeze or “thaw” your credit file in the event that you need to apply for new lines of credit sometime in the future. Depending on your state of residence and your circumstances, you may also have to pay a small fee to place a freeze at each bureau. There are four consumer credit bureaus, including Equifax, Experian, Innovis and Trans Union.
The fee ranges from $0 to $15 per bureau, meaning that it can cost upwards of $60 to place a freeze at all four credit bureaus (recommended). However, in most states, consumers can freeze their credit file for free at each of the major credit bureaus if they also supply a copy of a police report and in some cases an affidavit stating that the filer believes he/she is or is likely to be the victim of identity theft. In many states, that police report can be filed and obtained online. The fee covers a freeze as long as the consumer keeps it in place. Equifax has a decent breakdown of the state laws and freeze fees/requirements.
Credit bureaus are not required to notify consumers. "The credit bureaus work on behalf of banks and companies that grant credit.
- Equifax, PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111
- Experian, PO Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022, www.transunion.com, 1-800-888-4213
Free Credit Report.
It is recommended that you remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by reviewing account statements and monitoring your credit report for unauthorized activity. You may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. To order your annual free credit report please visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228.
You can also order your annual free credit report by mailing a completed Annual Credit Report Request Form (available from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) website at www.consumer.ftc.gov) to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
For residents of Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, and West Virginia:
You that you may obtain a copy of your credit report, free of charge, whether or not you suspect any unauthorized activity on your account.
You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies above. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures, including contacting you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. For that reason, placing a fraud alert can protect you, but also may delay you when you seek to obtain credit.
Security Freeze. You have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report.
A security freeze is intended to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. To place a security freeze on your credit report, you may be able to use an online process, an automated telephone line, or a written request to any of the three credit reporting agencies listed above. The following information must be included when requesting a security freeze (note that if you are requesting a credit report for your spouse, this information must be provided for him/her as well) :
(1) full name, with middle initial and any suffixes;
(2) Social Security number;
(3) date of birth;
(4) current address and any previous addresses for the past five years; and
(5) any applicable incident report or complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The request must also include a copy of a government-issued identification card and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, display your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue. The credit reporting agencies may charge a fee of up to $5.00 to place a freeze, or lift or remove a freeze. There will be no charge, if you are a victim of identity theft or the spouse of a victim of identity theft, and you have submitted a valid police report relating to the identity theft incident to the credit reporting agencies.
Federal Trade Commission and State Attorney General’s Offices.
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or have reason to believe your personal information has been misused, you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the attorney general’s office in your home state. Contact information for the Federal Trade Commission is Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
For residents of Maryland: You may contact the Maryland Attorney General’s Office at Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202, www.oag.state.md.us, 1-888-743-0023.
For residents of North Carolina: You may contact the North Carolina Attorney General’s office at North Carolina Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division, 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001, www.ncdoj.com, 1-877-566-7226.
Reporting of identity theft and obtaining a policy report.
For residents of Iowa: You are advised to report any suspected identity theft to law enforcement or to the Attorney General.
For residents of Massachusetts: You have the right to obtain a police report if you are a victim of identity theft.
For residents of Oregon: You are advised to report any suspected identity theft to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.