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U.S. Govt. Stipulates Free Annual Credit Reports

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the should-have-paid-your-student-loan dept.

The Internet 404

alue writes "Under the terms of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, passed last year, and amid growing concerns over privacy and disclosure of sensitive financial data, the three leading credit reporting agencies must provide consumers with a free summary once a year of all credit information on file for that person. Consumers in 13 Western states will be able to grab free online copies of their credit reports starting Wednesday."

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Now my question is.. (2, Interesting)

thegoogler (792786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973167)

How long will it stay free?

i mean it didnt take long for those free online credit reports to become "free" as in a "free ipod"

Re:Now my question is.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973198)

you stole the first post :( :( :(

Re:Now my question is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973206)

..."free" as in a "free ipod"

I think you mean "free" as in "free beer"

Re:Now my question is.. (3, Insightful)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973237)

That's the whole point. You can pay for a credit report now. Why would they make it free and then decide to charge again? It doesn't make any sense.

presumably because (1, Flamebait)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973266)

there's some neocon advantage. like they insist on making your credit easily available to the individual, and a nice side effect is it's very easy for them to get a copy too, which will tie in nicely with all the other records they have on you.

Re:presumably because (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973390)

there's some neocon advantage. like they insist on making your credit easily available to the individual, and a nice side effect is it's very easy for them to get a copy too, which will tie in nicely with all the other records they have on you.

Watch out, there's an eeeeevil neocon behind you!!! Boogaboogabooga!!!! rofl. You neocoms make me laugh.

Re:Now my question is.. (4, Informative)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973372)

Everyone is entitled to see their credit report once a year for free. It has been that way as long as I can remember. The hard part was figuring out how to get it. If you ever applied for credit and were denied you were supposed to get a form to allow you to get a copy of the credit report for free to see why you were denied. This was only once a year. I actually had a website at one point that covered tons of details but it became outdated so I took it down. Don't apply for credit just to get the free credit report. You take a hit for an inquiry. Another piece of advice is that if you ever do apply for credit, do it all at once because there is a cap on how many hits you can take now. Now it is possible to shop around for the best rates when buying a car/home without taking a 100 pt hit on your credit just for all of the inquiries.

Re:Now my question is.. (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973245)

What is this going to do to the Free Credit Report Industry. You know you click the link for a free credit report and find out you only have to pay them $xx per year for their special service and you get the free credit report. More unemployment to worry about.

Re:Now my question is.. (2, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973322)

They will continue what they currently do, since the yearly credit report is just a small part.
What theses services mostly do is continually monitor your credit status and inform you as things change, this is thier special service.
I would guess that they continue the same routine since most people will not know that you can now get your credit report for free, same as is currently done with the states that already require this.
If it becomes widly know then expect that they will change to advertising it as a security feature and to watch for identity theft.

Re:Now my question is.. (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973252)

As an iPod is a thing, this can only mean as in "free beer", bot "free speech".

A better question: (4, Funny)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973398)

What do you think the US government's credit report would look like?

DC? (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973173)

Why does it not surprise me that it will take another fscking year for the !$!@#% District of Columbia to come online with this... Isn't that where the damned law was passed in the first place?

Geezuz...

Woohoo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973174)

fp? aw darn it!

\o/ (-1, Flamebait)

Alchemyst0 (661536) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973177)

o_O

Question: (2)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973184)

Is there something hidden away in the US Constitution that says that all Bills laid before Congress must have names that are really crap acronyms?

Is there someone on the hill whose job it is to make them up?

Re:Question: (3, Insightful)

Carthag (643047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973191)

I think that is just a symptom of the dumbing down of culture today. Even laws need cute names now. It makes me sad.

Re:Question: (3, Insightful)

Wolfger (96957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973243)

That's very true. Our elected representatives know that their fellows are more likely to vote for the "USA-PATRIOT act" than the "spy-on-our-citizens-in-hopes-that-we-actually-cat ch-a-terrorist act".

Re:Question: (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973236)

Is there something hidden away in the US Constitution that says that all Bills laid before Congress must have names that are really crap acronyms?

No, but it is a good way to make "names" for bills that make them sound a lot more innocuous than they really are, i.e. the PATRIOT act.

Re:Question: (2, Interesting)

brandonY (575282) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973278)

Better question: Is there something hidden away in the US Constitution that says Congress has the right to make this demand of credit reporting companies? Oh, wait, it's because they potentially do business between the states. Sigh.

Re:Question: (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973356)

Exactly. Why not make a law saying that every U.S. resident is entitled to a free car every year? That'd be a swell idea.

Re:Question: (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973407)

Probably because the US Government does a huge amount of business with these companies. Or did you think that they handed out grants and loans to random people without even a basic financial background check?

I'd be willing to bet that the law could be worded such that any credit scoring company willing to partake of the government's big bucks would have to obey, or lose out to another company that will obey.

Now, if you wanted to be prissy about it, libel laws could have been amended to require that the credit reporting companies send copies of the reports every time its updated, or be faced with libel charges when an error is made. How would that be for within the bounds of Congress's power, or would you rather that companies be able to exercise the right to "free speech" as in telling random lies to destroy people's lives?

Re:Question: (2, Funny)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973328)

I can't answer that. Why? The bill that doesn't let me answer that doesn't let me tell you. No you can't see the bill, that's against the bill.

Nice (1)

mozingod (738108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973187)

...starting Wednesday.

Hmm

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday December 02, @08:00AM

Accurate and, sorta, timely reporting there killer.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973329)

I may be un-informed... so correct me if I'm wrong...

If it's thursday... Isn't there a wednesday 6 days later? So could he mean NEXT weds not last? Last I knew wednseday's happened on a weekly basis...

Unless I missed the memo about no more weds'days... I need to change my calendar now... damn...

Not to be a troll but isn't it kind of ignorant to assume last weds? I couldn't load the page and find out the exact date (this weds or last) so I don't know. Thus I don't assume and then make an ignorant arse of myself like you.

Peace

In the U.S. Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973190)

only Annual Credit Reports are FREE!

In Soviet Russia....In Korea (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973213)

In Soviet Russia, CREDIT REPORTS YOU!

In Korea, Credit reports are only for old people.

Will you be able to fix errors for free? (2, Informative)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973192)

Sure it's an interesting exercise to see one's own credit report but then what? When there are mistakes on it can you get them fixed?

Re:Will you be able to fix errors for free? (4, Insightful)

Heem (448667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973223)

Yes. I recently just got mine (paid for it) In addition to my mortgage being on there, which shows I've never been late in paying and such, there was a delinquint account. I was like WTF? Since over the last few years I've tried to be REALLY good about bills and credit and such. Turns out, I owed $1.81 (yes, one dollar and eighty one cents) to my former gas company, which is very likely to be that when I paid my final bill to them before I moved 2 years ago that I simply wrote the check out for the wrong amount - yea, it's my fault, but someone could have simply called me, sent me a bill, ANYTHING. but no, instead they send it to collections, who also never bothered to contact me and freaking tell me this. It took me only about a 10 minute phone call to straighten it out - but if I hadnt gotten a copy of my report, I never would have even known.

Now to answer your actual question about a real mistake, that is, something that you did not actually do, you simply have to make a written request to the credit agency with notes on why it's not your credit and such. each of the big 3 have instuctions on their website for how to dispute things on there.

Re:Will you be able to fix errors for free? (3, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973298)

It's not too hard.

two of the big three have an online option to dispute. You send them the corrections and they look into it and respond back.

I had on one of them something from some agency that I had no idea what it was ($160), they also had an alias/address of some random guy in California (where I never lived). So I clicked the is not me radio button and wrote in explanation "This company never called me, I don't know who they are and received no contact from them in any form".

I got a reply in 2 weeks that said it was deleted, and received a new report in the mail to verify it.

my understanding... (1)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973399)

is that when you request a resolution to disputed facts, they have to take it off of the report. this is for a limited time while the investigation goes on. after that, if the entity that put the record in on the first place is not happy/convinced/paid off/etc, they can put it back on.
this is how 'credit repair' scams work. you can get your credit 'cleaned up' for a certain amount of time if you time everything correctly. also, a certain number of people will not fight small amounts. i would have assumed that if you dispute 1.81, it would not come back, but for 1.81 to be there is the first place is kinda stupid. there is a possibility that it was automated and a challange will force a person to become involved and say 'this isn't worth it.'...

eric

Mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973276)

I had an error on my credit report. A phone company I had never used said I owed them $100. I contacted the phone company and the credit agency and explained to both that it was an error but after many attempts I ended up paying them off.

Re:Will you be able to fix errors for free? (4, Informative)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973291)

Contact the bureaus at the addresses in my other post [slashdot.org] . However, it is usually much quicker to contact the company reporting the incorrect information. Often times they just haven't updated anything and a call will quickly fix it. This is especially true for smaller local banks and consumer credit card companies. If they won't update that information, contact the bureaus, who will then contact the company and tell them, "Hey, fix this."

US Govt. and a good idea in the same story? (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973195)

Without the word bomb? OK Joking, but wow, this is actually a bloody good idea!

At least if all the relevant details are sent to everyone... I hope this doesn't get back handed to someones cousin to implement, and the data gets out... again...

This is one thing where I hope europe follows suite... and that credit companies are tightly regulated to help the little man... and woman...

In Korea, Only Old People Get Free Annual Credit Reports. Nope, doesn't work.

Re:US Govt. and a good idea in the same story? (1)

rabel (531545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973263)

and the data gets out... again...

For security purposes, www.AnnualCreditReport.com can be accessed by typing the web address "www.annualcreditreport.com", or from links from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov), Equifax (www.equifax.com), Experian (www.experian.com) and TransUnion (www.transunion.com) websites.

Wow, they can tell when they're linked-to from /. Now that's some super-duper security! You have nothing to fear.

At least if all the relevant details are sent to everyone.

The credit file disclosure includes certain information that is not included in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as the inquiries of companies for pre-approved offers of credit or insurance and account reviews, and any medical account information which is suppressed for third party users of consumer reports.

This seems right, but I'm sure there's a catch. What is this "medical account information" anyway?

I hope this doesn't get back handed to someones cousin to implement

Oh, haha, yeah, you must be new here!

...and that credit companies are tightly regulated to help the little man

Welcome to the USA! We hope you enjoy your stay!

Re:US Govt. and a good idea in the same story? (2, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973323)

This is one thing where I hope europe follows suite...

I don't think there is any EU-wide law on this. In the UK however, you can get your credit reports for a statutory £2 fee and have been able to for some years.

How much did it used to cost in the US?

Is once a year really enough to make a difference? (1, Insightful)

expro (597113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973196)

While I might take advantage of it if I knew there were problems, knowing I would have to wait a year to see it again (even if I later had real problems) would make me think twice before requesting it just to look it over.

Re:Is once a year really enough to make a differen (1)

willCode4Beer.com (783783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973220)

In my experience, when a problem is found, I've had no problem getting an updated credit report for free.

Re:Is once a year really enough to make a differen (4, Informative)

LNO (180595) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973225)

FTFA:

Should I order all my credit file disclosures at one time or space them out over 12 months?
You are entitled to receive one free credit file disclosure every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies through the Central Source. It is entirely your choice whether you order all three credit file disclosures at the same time or order one now and others later. The advantage of ordering all three at the same time is that you can compare them. (However, you will not be eligible for another free credit file disclosure from the Central Source for 12 months.) On the other hand, the advantage of ordering one now and others later (for example, one credit file disclosure every four months) is that you can keep track of any changes or new information that may appear on your credit file disclosure. Remember, you are entitled to receive one free credit file disclosure through the Central Source every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - so if you order from only one company today you can still order from the other two companies at a later date.

Re:Is once a year really enough to make a differen (1)

anum (799950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973260)

I believe they have to send you a new one if you find a mistake (that they made, mind you).
Basically, if there is something on there that you dispute you work it though them (and the agency that submitted it if needed) and then you can request a new report, free of charge, to make sure that it is fixed. I looked into this a while back so it may be out of date, or just plain wrong because I never tried to correct anything. Unfortunately, all those debts were mine :(

Back to the current topic, I suspect that this free report will actually be limited in someway and then they will offer to sell you the special, extended edition, unrated directors cut for some small fee.

Re:Is once a year really enough to make a differen (2, Interesting)

Heem (448667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973292)

Back to the current topic, I suspect that this free report will actually be limited in someway and then they will offer to sell you the special, extended edition, unrated directors cut for some small fee.

I suspect also that you are correct - now as it sits you can get a report for $5, (in my state) and then if you want your credit SCORE its another 5 dollars - so very likely they will cleverly market this to say something along the lines of "Your credit report is USELESS without a credit score! for only $5 we'll give you your credit score"

And you know how many people are going to take that option, i mean, it's only 5 bucks right? so the credit companies actually stand to make more money off of this deal, since more people will be interested in a free report, then once they are merketed to will realize that they absolutely MUST have their score as well.

Re:Is once a year really enough to make a differen (5, Informative)

Transplant (535283) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973354)

In short, yes it is enough.

I recently went through some hassles trying to clear a delinquent account off my credit report. The thing is, this delinquent account was only reported by two of the three agencies. In fact, each of the agencies listed a different current address for me (former military, so I moved a fair amount), as well as slightly different account information.

If you find a discrepancy on your credit report, the first thing you need to get is evidence - preferably in the form of a letter or statement from the company making the negative report. Put that together with a letter giving an explanation of the situation. It's not a bad idea to put your last two addresses in addition to your current address, in notes at the bottom of the letter. Send copies of this to all three agencies (details can be found at their individual websites).

After a week or two processing time, the credit agencies will send you a written reply telling you the results of your challenge. Included with this will be an *updated copy* of your credit report detailing the changes that have been made.

One other thing to keep in mind when working with your credit: feel free to challenge something even if you know it's a legitimate negative item. If you tell the credit companies "No, I didn't bounce that check three years ago.", they have to attempt to contact the bank that claims you did. If that bank does not respond within a set time period (I believe it's 30 days, but I would have to double check), the negative item is wiped off your record.

Finally... bad credit items stay on your report for *SEVEN YEARS*. All you college students keep this in mind. Additionally, a good number of companies are doing credit checks as part of their interview process nowadays. It's also required if you're going to get a security clearance from the US Government.

Transplant

Disclaimer: I am not a credit counselor, nor do I work for any financial institutions. So, double check what I've just said before you take it as fact.

Missing FAQ (1)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973208)

The FAQ at the site fails to address my own burning questions:
  1. Why the regional roll-out? Californians can get their report now but folks in New York have to wait until September of next year.
  2. Why be paranoid about the HTTP referrer? There's nothing more insecure about having one than by not.

Re:Missing FAQ (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973270)

The regional roll-out is probably due to capacity, getting the records into an online database was possibly done in waves, state by state, and that's just the order they picked to enter them into the system in.

As for the referrer, look at how many scams are already going for people charging you absurd amounts to get a copy of your credit report. They are probably trying to prevent scammers from charging people for an online copy of their credit report when all they do after they charge your credit card $9.55 is to forward you to this site.

Re:Missing FAQ (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973280)

Regarding question #2:

One possibility is that someone could set up a convincing front-end that would collect (and save) your personal information then forward you to the business-end of this website like nothing happened. Or charge you for somebody else's free service.

Re:Missing FAQ (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973287)

Why the regional roll-out? Californians can get their report now but folks in New York have to wait until September of next year.

Probably so that the credit report companies don't get slashdotted. As someone on the East Coast, I agree that it is annoying, however I can kind of see why they would want to try to spread the requests out. Spreading it out over a nine month perioed does seem to be a little much, though.

Its useful! (0, Offtopic)

cbelle13013 (812401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973209)

The government is finally useful! I'm partying tonight!

Well (3, Insightful)

EinarH (583836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973227)

I for one welcome the mail from the phishers about the new http://www.annual-credit-report.com/ [annual-credit-report.com] .

Wonderful! (5, Informative)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973228)

This is really good. The number of people with mistakes on credit reports is pretty high. Especially if anyone is to do anything major (buy a car, get a mortgage), you need to check your credit beforehand! IIRC, if you have been turned down for credit before, you can request a copy of the report in writing within (I think) a 60-day time period.

Here's their general contact info:

Equifax (800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 740243, Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian (888) 397-3742
P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013-3742

Trans Union (800) 916-8800
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022

Also, if you want to opt-out those pre-approved credit solicitations, you can call (888) 567 8688 or contact the above parties by mail (make sure you reference your name, address, and SSN).

Equifax Inc.
Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Experian
Consumer Opt-Out
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521

Trans Union LLC
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 39288-7328

That being said, you should have been checking your credit once a year or so to make sure there's no mistakes. If you're buying a house in the next year, check now for any mistakes. They can take a looong time to fix.

In some places you can do this now! (3, Informative)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973234)

The FACT act says that people in western states can get this now but some states, specifically Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, have required credit bureaus to do this for a while.

Re:In some places you can do this now! (0, Redundant)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973311)

I've lived in GA for the past 10 years, and never recieved a copy of my credit report unrequested. As a matter of fact, I've had to jump through hoops and bounds to get a copy of mine.

Free report my ass.

Privacy, huh? (1, Insightful)

Cooper_007 (688308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973242)

So they supposedly show you all that they have on file about you. How do you know it's absolutely *ALL* of it?

And how exactly does your privacy benefit from having yet another place available on the web with your data on it?
Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but the less boxen with my data on it, the better.

Cooper
--
I don't need a pass to pass this pass!
- Groo The Wanderer -

What does "Free" mean? (1, Flamebait)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973251)

I HIGHLY doubt this is a win for the abused... er, I mean, consumer. I properly filed for a free copy of my credit report from experian (NOT those rape you FreeCreditReport.moreSpam places) and started recieving specific junk mail and telemarketing which I was free of before.

So, what does "free" mean? Free from cost? Free from marketing? Free from being spied on?

The link in the story just looks like another phishing scam to me. Nothing about the site says, "No really, we're the official one that's not gonna sell all your information to whomever wants it." What's "official" about it?

What would be a consumer win is that the credit agencies automatically send out annual credit reports along with a report of who looked at your credit during the last year and EXACTLY what they saw.

Between big business and big goverment, the little guy has no hope.

Looks like a phishing attempt to me, too... (3, Informative)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973297)

The registar is shielded by Domains-by-proxy. There's no reason to do that for a REAL credit check site. Also, there's no SSL certificate.

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973308)

The fact that all 3 credit reporting companies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) all have links to this site makes it sound very non-phishing to me.

As a Massachusetts resident, we have been able to get a free annual report for quite some time, which I have been doing for hte past 4-5 years. I have seen no increase in junk mail or telemarketing from it (although we have also had a do not call list before the national one, so that also would block calls).

While it would be nice if you received them automatically, it certainly makes sense to get them, especially for free. The credit reports you get do include what others see, and more, although they do not include credit scores, which are not technically part of the report, but rather derived from it.

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973343)

That's a good point about the credit union links, however my point is different. There should be some sort of obvious graphic or text that says, "Look folks, we're official. We're with the credit unions. We're not going to steal you're ID."

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973370)

Where are the links? I've searched three of the sites so far without finding one.

Of course, you can click Back to return and the page will suddenly work, but that's not a link.

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973312)

By the way, I should add that every month the consumer should be able to request a new report be sent free of charge, with out any stupid conditions. The consumer should be able to get ALL information that a company has on them (any company, not just credit agencies) at any time, online. The only provision should be to ensure strong authentication.

They won't show you your credit score (2, Interesting)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973371)

This is interesting.

From the FAQ
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a complex mathematical model that evaluates many types of information in a credit file. A credit score is used by a lender to help determine whether a person qualifies for a particular credit card, loan, or service. Most credit scores estimate the risk a company incurs by lending a person money or providing them with a service -- specifically, the likelihood that the person will make payments on time in the next two to three years. Generally, the higher the score, the less risk the person represents.


So, they'll send you the goods they have on you, but they won't tell you the very information that counts the most?!? Last time I got a credit report, it showed my score on it. Are they looking provide the "report" free, but make you pay for the score?

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973380)

What marketing information are you going to provide the credit bureaus when you make your request that they do not already have?

Finkployd

Re:What does "Free" mean? (1)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973424)

Your IP address and email address. Those are very valuable things to have. Gmail exists to correlate your IP, email and intrests together to sell to marketdroids. Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but I do not believe that anything in business really happens for the pure motive of serving the public good. I'm suspicious because I don't see the obvious like to follow the money on this one.

What does that mean? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973257)

For security purposes, www.AnnualCreditReport.com can be accessed by typing the web address "www.annualcreditreport.com", or from links from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov), Equifax (www.equifax.com), Experian (www.experian.com) and TransUnion (www.transunion.com) websites.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only web source authorized by all three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies from which free annual credit file disclosures can be requested.


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Re:What does that mean? (1)

anum (799950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973294)

It means that they know the /. crowd doesn't have the patience to go to all that trouble. Fewer hits and fewer false claims to go though. Those Bastards

Score goes down when you request a report. (1)

harks (534599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973269)

From working in a bank, I've heard that your score goes down a small amount every time you request a credit report, to discourage people from applying for loans to dozens of banks, or the same bank over and over. I couldn't find anything about this on the website, but it might not be a good idea to request a report numerous times.

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (1)

bmetz (523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973295)

This is a bug of the old scoring system that was fixed now that people go on the internets and shop around for quotes for things like car insurance that each involve a credit check.

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973401)

now that people go on the internets

Who would have have thought that "W" was on slashdot? And with such a low UID?

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (1)

rabel (531545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973296)

Also, remember that the methods the credit reporting agencies use to calculate credit scores is proprietary and not disclosed. So that's why people "have heard" about what factors are used in credit scores, but nobody really knows.

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (2, Informative)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973345)

From working in a bank, I've heard that your score goes down a small amount every time you request a credit report, to discourage people from applying for loans to dozens of banks, or the same bank over and over.

I don't think this is quite true. I think that your credit rating is only affected by potential creditors looking at your credit report at your request. The reason it goes down is because most potential creditors will be concerned if you are looking to take on substantial debt in addition to the loan that they are offering you.

When a credit card company checks your report to "pre-approve" you or when you request one yourself that is categorized differently and should not affect your credit rating.

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973415)

I've worked in the mortgage industry on and off for years, and though it may have changed the rule of thumb has always been that pulling credit reduces your FICO score. For a new mortgage, the home insurance guy wanted to pull a credit report even though I had a current one for the mortgage. I complained, saying that it affects your credit score, and he validated it with his corporate minders. In this case, I wasn't asking for a new credit card or anything, yet it would affect my credit.

Re:Score goes down when you request a report. (2, Informative)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973396)

Not quite true. You are right that when creditors run a credit check that it goes on your report and multiple checks are generally held against you. However, requesting a copy yourself does not go on the report and therefor cannot hurt you. They are two different classifications of "credit check".

Finkployd

In soviet russia tongue gets cat! (-1, Redundant)

private Burrito (836582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973273)

In soviet Russia credit report stipulates you!

Not all that comes from the U.S. gov is bad (1)

Kosi (589267) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973283)

This is the proof, even here in Germany the SCHUFA charges you for your very own infos about yourself, being backed by the govt although it is illegal to charge for it.

However.... (2, Informative)

yoey (247125) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973285)

Your credit report is one thing. What about your FICO score?

Re:However.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973301)

You can bet they won't make the companies (who for years, claimed loudly that they don't "rate" credit, while doing so) disclose the scores for free. Under the old FCRA, the bureaus aren't even required to disclose the score to you for a fee.

Fortunately, the FICO score loses its meaning once people know how to influence it. The largest parameters, while not in formula form, are public now. The secret parameters, which probably include proxies for race (e.g. ZIP code, types of debt), etc., aren't something a person can change easily, anyway.

Re:However.... (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973355)

They're not required to release your credit scores for free. In fact, they are allowed to advertise their products - including full reports with your scores - as long as they don't mislead the visitor or make it hard to get the free info.

NPR ran a story on this a couple of days ago, I think. I was surprised that it didn't hit Slashdot until today.

That's good. (1)

voteforkerry78 (819720) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973289)

I think its good that we get free credit reports now, or at least in those western states.

Sigh (0)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973293)

Once again, the government decided that it should tell private companies how to go about their business.

Re:Sigh (1)

voteforkerry78 (819720) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973299)

Better that companies don't take advantage of consumers than companies make more $.

What does 'taking advantage' mean? (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973318)

Are you not willingly doing business with these companies?

Re:What does 'taking advantage' mean? (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973359)

Who "willingly" does business with a credit bureau? Companies you do business may choose to share your information with them, and then use them to make decisions about you, but you never choose to do anything with them.

Finkployd

Re:What does 'taking advantage' mean? (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973374)

Yes, you do.

When you sign up for a loan, or other such thing, you explicitly agree for the bank to share your information with the credit bureau.

Don't like it? Don't take out any loans. There's a case to be made for not living on credit.

Re:What does 'taking advantage' mean? (2, Insightful)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973373)

Are you not willingly doing business with these companies?

I think it would be rather difficult to make it through life without ever getting a loan of any sort, credit card, or any of the other myriad of services that require a credit check. Heck, my last apartment even wanted to check my credit when I applied.

Re:What does 'taking advantage' mean? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973418)

Hush up, you dirty librarian! Don't you know our beloved government mastars our only trying 2 protect us from r big bad corprorate masters? We can't refuse to give tehm r money or the terists win!!!

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973314)

Interestingly, the government seems to do this mostly to "industries" that "earn" their money by abusing the public. Go figure.

Re:Sigh (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973330)

Did you feel 'abused' when a bank gave you that money, that you would not be able to get otherwise ?

Privacy policy (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973303)

Anyone ever bother reading their privacy policy [annualcreditreport.com] ? I don't feel safe after reading various bits.

note - not required to tell you FICO number (2, Interesting)

wherley (42799) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973304)

note that the free credit file disclosure is not required to (and probably will not) contain your computed FICO (Fair Isaac & Co.) number relating to your credit rating. this is the number proprietarily computed and available (at a cost to you) from
Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. the number ranges from around 500 to 850 and could be different from the three sources.
http://www.myfico.com/myFICO/FAQ/FICOScores.asp?fi re=5 [myfico.com]

Re:note - not required to tell you FICO number (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973348)

you are absolutely right. even before this act, you could get "free" credit reports from the agencies when you issued a fraud warning flag on it. but they only give you the credit histories/status - not the "score" used to assess the mortage rate, as one example.

Re:note - not required to tell you FICO number (3, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973405)

While this is unfortunate, that number is not going to help you detect incorrect information or fraud. Which I believe is the point to this law.

Finkployd

Grab free online copies of OTHERS' credit reports? (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973306)

What exactly will prevent this?

The site says: "To assure that your credit file is disclosed only to you, the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies will authenticate your identity utilizing the personal identification information you provide on this site, including, but not limited to, your Social Security number, and then require that you answer certain questions."

But what information on my credit report is known to me that is not known to my immediate family members, my employer, my physician's office, etc.?

Re:Grab free online copies of OTHERS' credit repor (1)

dreamt (14798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973350)

Most of the requests do require very specific questiosn to be answered, unlikly to be known by anyone (other than immediate family member, who you hopefully can trust) before displaying on-line. In some cases, they will only mail it to your home address. One of them (I forget which) had a 'test' where you had to answer questiosn about specific bills you have received (what was the amount owed on a certain date) or multiple choice questions, with quite a few that were none of the above, etc.

Re:Grab free online copies of OTHERS' credit repor (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973369)

I doubt its that hard to get hold of someone's file anyway. After all, anyone you apply to for a loan can get hold of it, as can their agents. Since they have to make it avaialable to a large number of people, it's difficult to offer that much protection.

Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10973386)

dpbsmith raises good questions.

Score Is Important, Too (2, Informative)

dianep (537804) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973334)

While it's great that there eventually may be free access to credit reports, I personally believe that knowing my FICO score on a regular basis is more important. One of the credit card companies I have a card with, Providian [providianservices.com] , is the only company I know that provides me with my FICO score for free. I hope more companies follow this trend, because a person's FICO score weighs heavily in determining your credit worthiness.

Thanks!!! (1)

digit (3825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973337)

Thanks big time!!!

The-Bus you rock.

I just stared getting this crap in the mail.

Now I hope it will stop.

Not perfect.... (1)

mogrify (828588) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973381)

This is a twitch in the right direction for the credit system... it makes more accessible what was entirely a monolithic (trilithic?), black-box setup.

However, the internal workings are still not entirely known. The algorithms for calculating the credit score are guarded like launch codes, and you still have to pay even to see what that code is. Not to mention that the companies are free to use the website as a marketing venue for their other services, as long as they don't impede your ability to get your report. Think of it as ad-supported software.

Hopefully, this will allow people to more easily find and correct mistakes that would otherwise ruin their lives. But there are still a lot of practices in the credit world that need to be corrected.

Free? (2, Interesting)

qray (805206) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973388)

So when I request my "free" report. The paper it is written on magically appears as does the printer and ink. Once the magic ink is printed on the magic paper, it's put in a magic envelope and magically transported to me.

Sorry I'm just a little skeptical when I see the word "free" used in such contexts.

Has anyone seen who is actually paying for this? Is it the credit agencies or the tax payers? Hafd dorf sokut timbre busket

I just went through the process (5, Informative)

gonerill (139660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973389)

Immediate impressions:

0) The idea is that you give the annualcreditreport.com's site your details, and then go back and forth between there and the three reporting agencies' websites. This worked pretty well. They have an interesting security feature where the site only works if you type the URL directly or the referrer is one of the 3 credit agencies.

1) Experian's site was broken --- it reported an error, but I bet the annualcreditreport.com now thinks I've used up my 1 free report with them anyway.

2) They don't give you your FICO score (the number summarizing your creditworthiness), but offer to sell it to you for 5 or 6 bucks, instead.

3) The sites do basically the same things, but the contrasts in processing and reporting styles between Equifax and TransUnion (Experian he broken, remember) are interesting:

* Equifax asked me a trick security question to verify my identity: "You may have a mortgage from January 2001 -- Which of the following is the monthly payment?" The answer for me was 'None of the above' as I don't have a mortgage from then. But it scared the shit out of me when I saw the question! Talk about identity theft!

* Transunion makes you establish a login name / password / reminder question + email contact, and tries to sneak in a spam newsletter. Equifax doesn't do this.

* Both sites try hard to get you to buy your FICO score.

* Transunion's report presents its information better than Equifax's.

Big deal (5, Interesting)

say (191220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973392)

In Norway, you get a (paper) copy of your credit report every time someone hires a company to make one. It's the law over here. It seems reasonable. You've actually had to pay for getting to know your own credit details? It's kind of funny.

I got mine -- two days ago! (1)

Will_Malverson (105796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973421)

I went and checked out this site on Tuesday afternoon, and it was already live. It was fairly easy and straightforward. My only complaint was that Experian had an absurdly short session timeout. Once my session timed out, I tried to log back in and got a message saying, "Our records show that you already got your report for this year. Come back next year. In the meantime, would you like to buy a copy of your report for $9?" So if you do go get your report, make sure that the first thing you do is go to the 'printable version' and print it.


While I did, you don't have to get your report from all three at the same time. You might be better off getting your report from one bureau every four months -- chances are, identity theft would show up on all three of them at about the same time.


While they did try to sell credit-monitoring services, they weren't especially obnoxious about it -- once I unchecked them, I was able to proceed and get the free report without much hassle.


Each bureau had its own security questions, and they're designed to be 'non-wallet' questions, like "What is the account number on your mortgage?", or "What is your monthly car loan payment?"


If you're paranoid, you can also find information on that web site about how to get your credit report by mail or telephone.

Very good. (1)

sfprairie (626602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10973425)

I am glad to see this. I think it is very important to be able to check your credit. Since it is so vital, each person should be entitled to one free copy a year. I believe the law in some states mandated that you got one fee a year. At least that was true when I lived in Colorado in 96. Not free in VA, though.

And yes, you can get incorrect info removed. I paid for a combined report in August. There was an error, a civil case that was Dismissed, nonsuit, but reported as a judgement against me. I filled a protest with Equafax, and they removed it in less than a month.

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