As identity thieves and data breaches become more common, consumers become more complacent.
Experian’s 2015 report revealed that almost one third -32% – of consumers do nothing if a bank or retailer reports that data may have been compromised. Don’t ignore those warnings! Take steps to monitor your credit regularly.
Review Credit History. Get your credit report annually from the three major credit bureaus that track your credit use. You can order your credit report from each credit bureau once every 12 months by completing the request form at http://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228. You can order all three at one time or you may choose to stagger the throughout the year. (You get your credit history, not your credit score.)
Several other entities advertise free credit reports or free credit scores, but they are not part of the legally mandated program, and there could be strings attached. So be aware of who you are asking.
Fix Errors. What if you find errors in your report? It’s not uncommon, so take these steps to fix those errors:
1) Contact in writing the lender or debt collector that reported the wrong information and ask for a correction.
2) Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus to report the wrong information.
3) Send a written copy of a dispute to the credit bureaus. They are required to investigate and tell you the results.
The procedures for reporting errors can be found on the credit bureau websites:
Keep Up with the News. Read your mail! When you are notified about a data breach from your credit card issuer or bank, follow their advice or contact them for more information. There may be other steps to take – like getting a new card – to avoid compromising your credit.