When January rolls around, Americans tend to make resolutions, reevaluate their goals and think about starting their taxes. If you haven’t already made a habit of pulling and reviewing your credit reports from the three primary credit reporting bureaus as part of this “new year dawning” set of rituals, it’s time to embrace that approach.
You’ll need to pull all three credit reports to review – which the federal government has made a free undertaking once annually for all Americans. You shouldn’t just review one or two because not all creditors report the same information to each bureau. Evaluating the information that has been provided to each can help you to spot credit reporting inaccuracies, identity theft and other challenges that could harm your credit history and your credit score.
What to look for on your credit report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed in 1970. This legislation was enacted to better ensure that consumers aren’t penalized for inaccurate information contained within their credit histories. Because an inaccurate credit report can lead to loss of opportunity – employment, financing, housing etc. – this law is both meaningful and consequential.
After reviewing your credit report, know that you’re empowered, under the FCRA, to seek the correction of any inaccurate information that may be reflected in your history. Once necessary corrections have been made, any damage that has been done to your credit score should be undone.
There are numerous ways that the area of consumer protection law safeguards the rights and financial interests of individual Americans. By reviewing your credit reports annually – at a minimum – you’ll be empowered to exercise those rights in the event that inaccurate reporting, identity theft or other challenges pose a risk to your financial identity and to your financial interests as a whole.