The three credit reporting agencies have not only been required to set up a website but also provide a toll-free phone number and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual credit report without being solicited by services online. However, as is expected it takes much longer for you to receive your credit report in this manner because it must be mailed to you as opposed to being delivered instantly online.
To order your annual credit report on the phone, call 1-877-322-8228 and follow the prompt menu for instructions on how to get your credit report mailed to you.
To initially request the annual credit report by mail, fill up the form contained in the FTC facts for consumers brochure online. You should mail the form to the following address.
Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 303485281.
The Federal Trade Commission does not recommend contacting the three national credit bureaus individually.
Free annual credit reports are safely provided only by the following sources:
Online at www.annualcreditreport.com, toll-free at 1-877-322-8228 and by mailing in the request form at credit report request service address listed above.
Even if you have received copies of your free credit report in the past 12 months from all of the three credit bureaus, you may still be entitled to another free copy if an adverse action has been taken against you based on the information in your credit report. An example is the denial of a loan application resulting from an adverse amount on a credit report. Other examples are denied employment, insurance or rental housing. The creditor of the person denying you a service based on his examination of your credit report is required to inform you of this and tell you how you can access your copy of the credit report.
You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report if your creditor reduces your credit limit, you were the victim of fraud, you receive public assistance or you are currently unemployed and planning to apply for a job within 60 days.
You should be aware of the fact that sometimes the process of ordering your credit report can come up against a problem or two. The credit bureau might claim that they cannot release your credit file to you because of some security issue. They might claim that you didn’t answer the multiple questions online correctly or they cannot process information to identify you suitably. In case of mailing a request they might say that a copy of your Social Security card was too faded out. They might ask you to mail in further identification such as your driver’s license.
As we have mentioned before, any information that the creditor or you provide to the credit reporting agencies, they can put on your credit file. Although they cannot pull your driving record even if they have a driver license number, you might not want this additional information to sit on your credit file for many other people to have access to. If you must send in a drivers license, disguise your number on the copy by Whiting or blacking out some or all figures. Your address and date of birth should be adequate proof of who you are as long as this information matches what is already on a credit report.
Similarly, do not use a copy of your telephone bill as proof of your identity if you do not want a telephone number to be included in your project or. On the other hand, having your phone number on the credit file is one of the steps to guard against identity theft. If you have any fraud issues with credit in the past, your phone number along with certain instructions is included on the credit report in case the lender’s needs to call you when fresh credit is applied for in your name. And basically, it is an additional check that the lender can go through by giving you a call before approving credit in your name and prevents someone from fraudulently using your identity. However, the phone number is only a small step against fraud and identity.
We have discussed this subject in much greater detail in the identity theft section.