I check one of my credit reports every four months to make sure my financial avatar hasn’t developed walking pneumonia. I worry about someone stealing my identity and since it happens to almost ten million people a year and data breaches are pretty much constant, I consider this anxiety justified. Happily, I can ease the unease FREE!
The FCRA requires that each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) provide me a peek at the credit report they have on file for me once a year. Twelve months in a year divided by three credit agencies means I schedule this exciting activity once every four months.
If the universe deems you worthy, this checkup will take five minutes.
- Go to annualcreditreport.com.
- Pick one of the three agencies. Today was TransUnion for me.
- Answer some questions hopefully only you would know.
- Scan the report to see if there are any accounts you don’t recognize. Since I do this often, I just checked the “date opened” on each account to make sure nothing was opened in the past year.
- Put a calendar notification for one year from today to “Check TransUnion” (or whatever agency you picked).
- Live your life for the next 12 months
- Receive a “Check TransUnion” email from your Google calendar
- Wait another month because you can’t be bothered**
- Tell yourself it will only take five minutes and then you can blog about it***
- Go back to step 1.
*Your step five may differ if this is when you realize that the burglar pictured above stole your identity. The good news is that you caught it and now you can start nursing your avatar back to health. The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to clean up the mess.
**Your step nine may differ if you don’t tend towards laziness.
***Your step ten may differ if you don’t blog.