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Credit Reports - Reminder & Warning

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Almost every time we turn on the TV here in the US, we are inundated by commercials asking if we know our credit scores. From mortgage companies, to auto loans, to debt consolidation places, to how to check your scores, it’s constant.

It is important to keep track of your credit reports, but don’t fall victim to the multitude of scams out there! By Federal Law now, you are allowed to check your credit report for free annually with each of the three credit reporting agencies. If any negative reports or more than 8 (I think) inquiries into your credit are added to your credit, the credit reporting agencies must notify you in writing on how to access your free annual report. In that letter will be directions on how to obtain your credit report.

Now, here’s the rub. In addition to, and sometimes working in conjunction with the credit bureaus, are other companies that will also offer you’re a “free annual credit reportâ€. Some of these are nationally advertised, you can’t escape them. But, when you go there to get the report, you cannot get it without giving them your credit card information and are automatically enrolled in their “credit watch†(or something similar) program for a “free 30-day trialâ€. You’ve obviously noticed that I’m using a lot of quotes here. Many times, it isn’t free. There are multiple reports out there of being charged up to $80 for the “free reportâ€. There are even more reports (and personal experience) that even if you cancel your “membership†prior to the expiration of the 30 days, you will keep seeing $9.95-$12.00 charges on your account monthly. Check out as one source for public complaints about companies (Click on Search Reports, then find Credit Reporting Agencies in the list)

Unless you really want to use the secondary companies’ services (which the credit bureaus themselves offer), don’t use them to check your credit. Go straight to the source. You are entitled to this information for FREE, which does not including giving them straight access to your accounts.

P.S. If you want to share your experiences here, that’s great, but please refrain from using any company names. We don’t want to put this forum in legal jeopardy from liability concerns.
post #2 of 18
A friend of mine that owns an auto dealership warned me that too many hits (inquiries) to your credit report from outside entities (banks, loan companies etc), will start to effect your actual rating.

I am not sure what constitutes 'too many hits'.
post #3 of 18
Originally Posted by Arlyn
A friend of mine that owns an auto dealership warned me that too many hits (inquiries) to your credit report from outside entities (banks, loan companies etc), will start to effect your actual rating.

I am not sure what constitutes 'too many hits'.
I used to be 10 or more I think it is like 6 or more in one 6 month time frame... hopeing expert can clear this up..
post #4 of 18
Now where can I go to get this free report....I dont know if it was made clear or not
post #5 of 18
You can get them here.

I have somethings to add to Heidi's post. The free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union do not have credit scores (at least they didn't the last time I checked). Even without the scores it is nice to keep an eye of what is being reported. You have the choice to pull from all three companies but I would suggest that you pull from one company now, a second one 4 mos from now and 4 mos. after that your last one. That was you have spread out the time period and can monitor your credit all year. There are some small differences in the bureaus but for the most part, companies report to all three.
post #6 of 18
I thought of another tip. If you hold a bunch of joint accounts with a spouse, then space it two months apart. 3 reports total for you and 3 reports for your spouse.
post #7 of 18
Great Thread!!!

I am a Loss Prevention/Collections Manager for a Federal Credit union. I deal with all the fraud and Identity Theft Cases. Let me tell you it is amazing how many people get away with it. I pull a copy of my credit report 3 times a year from Equafax, Experian and Transunion (personal inquiries do not show as inquiries on your report).

Be careful to shred all Credit Card Offers and statements, if possible have a Mail Box that locks and do not give any information to anyone over the phone.

One more thing, make sure to tell you elderly relatives to do the same. I see a lot of elderly people getting ripped off because they do not understand what people are capable of, when information gets in the wrong hands.
post #8 of 18
I subscribed to one of those credit-watch services for a while. It was while I was shopping for a house and I didn't want any credit bureau screw-ups just before applying for a mortgage. The service was OK, but after I bought the house I figured I didn't need it any more. Boy, was it a b#### to get it cancelled. One excuse after another. Too late to cancel. Already billed. Call back next month. Sheesh.
post #9 of 18
A realtor today told me that if I apply for mortgages, say two at a time over the course of a month or so each would knock points off my credit score, or maybe it was one point. But if you have several mortgage companies checking your credit a short time frame it only counts off as one point. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I did read that the more outside entities that check your credit the worse your score gets. I used Experian's service for the three reports plus credit score yesterday, and I'm hoping I didn't subscribe to something! They offered a program where you could subscribe. I suppose I'll find out. It was amazing to me how wrong my personal information was. I'd have several different variations on addresses- ie 123 elm lane, 132 elm lane, 123 elem lane. It was bizarre. Transunion listed my employer as a series of letters and numbers, Equifax didnt list an employer, and Experian listed a place I did an internship at three years ago as my employer! Check this stuff out folks!
post #10 of 18
I keep watch on mine all the time because my mom and I have the same name and birthday so ours are always getting mixed up.
post #11 of 18
Be careful to shred all Credit Card Offers and statements, if possible have a Mail Box that locks and do not give any information to anyone over the phone
This is VERY good advice. I BURN all my credit card statements and all offers for credit cards that I get in the mail. Never give anyone personal information over the phone. No bank will call and ask you for this info. If you ever get a call from a credit card company or your bank stating your account is in trouble and they need you to give them your account number. STOP!! Never do this!! Do not even ask them for a phone number to call them back. Just hang up. If you want to check with your bank or credit card company, to make sure your account is ok, call the phone numbers that are on your statements only, never call a number that someone gives you over the phone. Again, never give any personal information over the phone. I understand that at times, you have to do this when ordering something by phone, but never give out information to someone who calls you and solicits this information.
post #12 of 18
I BURN all my credit card statements and all offers for credit cards that I get in the mail.
If I receive more than 1 request...I will call the credit card company and ask them to remove my name from their list.

post #13 of 18
Hmmm I have this $9.98 charge every month to my account automatically taken out and haven't been able to figure out what it is. It doesn't have a real company name or phone number or anything on my statement. How do I fix this?
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
First, contact your credit card or bank and see if they can get any additional information on the charge. I think they are supposed to give a phone number for the company that gets the charged amount. Find out who they are. If you didn't authorize it, again talk to your credit card or bank. Many times they can block the charge if it is fraudulant. Worst case scenario, cancel that credit card and have the company/bank reissue you a new one with a new number so they can't automatically charge that number anymore.
post #15 of 18
another tip: tired of getting all of those offers? you can opt out of getting pre-approved applications here.
post #16 of 18
That sounds suspiciously like a credit-monitoring charge. If it's a service provided by the issuing credit card company, then changing the account number won't get it off. The credit card company should be able to tell you what the charge is for.
post #17 of 18
Since I worked for a large automotive finance company I KNOW LOTS OF STUFF!!!
The item you are referencing is the FICO score. The higher (720+) the better. If it is lower say than 620 you may be charged a higher interest rate!!!
Many times if you are applying for a car loan the car dealership will "shotgun" out your credit application to many many lenders!!! (This can be easily 6 more more financial institutions) Of course all these financial institutions as well as the car dealer will "pull" your credit bureau!!! If you choose for some reason not to purchase that vehicle but say come back in 2-3 months this will occurr all over again. We would call the dealer "shopping" the customer to get not the best deal necessary for you but for the finance mgrs pocket!! If you want the low APR available tell the finance mgr right away to stop this practice. Have an idea what the interest rates are.
If you have many credit cards but do not use them-write to the company to cancel them. This all shows up as potential debt that the consumer could occur.
When completing a credit application-little details are really important. For instance if men have the designation Sr, Jr, III, IV etc after their name BE SURE TO USE IT!!
Your parents could have crummy credit which could affect YOU!!
Owning a home outright better than buying a home better than renting etc...
For young buyers-level of education can be important. If a creditor asks for a co-signer/co-buyer on a loan-if you mess up the loan that co-buyer is responsible.
If boyfriend/girlfriend think twice about signing on that loan-if you break up you are still liable!!!
Do you have both a savings and checking account???
If not a checking account-how will that loan be repaid????
No credit at all can be just as bad as a low FICO score. Borrow $3-$5 thousand and pay it back for 18-24 months so the creditor can observe a payment history.
Enough said for now!!
post #18 of 18
my opinion....

screw credit ratings-- you dont need them to buy a house-- you dont need them to buy anything--

we dont care what our credit rating is-- we do get our credit reports every year to make sure theres nothing fraudulent on there but other than that we dont care. Our household runs on cash-- We save up for thigns we need/want and budget for everything--At our current rate we will have my hubbys new car paid off next august (loan is only a year old)-- and thats on a 60 month loan that we got with NO credit. My jeep was bought and paid for when we walked off the new car lot with it. Our home ( 30 yr mortage) will be paid off in 5 years. Our current mortgage is only 5 years old. I have no credit. Hubby's is what other people consider bad as he had tons of student loans. We will be totally debt free and have extra money to buy a new jeep in less than 10 years. After we get our current debt paid off we will not take out a loan for anything like a car or house.

If we dont have the cash to buy what we want we just dont buy it. If we need something its budgeted for. There are no credit cards in our household.
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