So why should you get your credit reports annually?
- To detect identity theft - Your report will show you any new accounts opened in your name as well as who has been checking your credit. If an account appears on the report that you did not open or if a company (especially a retail store where you have not applied for financing) inquires into your creditworthiness, you can take action to prevent potential identity theft from taking place or at least minimize the impact.
- Uncover errors - The reporting agencies make mistakes, trust me! Equifax still has my married name on my report even though I changed back to my maiden name 14 years ago (and, yes, I changed it with the Social Security Administration so that isn't the issue as Equifax claims. You won't believe the hoops I have to jump through to fix it but that's for a future post.) Fortunately, this error hasn't impacted my credit worthiness. Other mistakes, such as reporting a late payment on a credit card when you paid on time, can have a significant impact on your credit score and will result in you paying a higher interest rate on loans or being turned down for a loan.