“Do-It-Yourself” Credit Monitoring
Because many creditors only report to the bureaus once per month or quarter, you can stagger your FACTA free credit file requests and request a copy of your report from one credit bureau at a time throughout the year (i.e. one every three or four months), in a form of limited self credit monitoring.
A careful review of your credit report from each bureau at least once per year is certainly more preferable than not at all. However, you should also understand that: 1) many creditors do not report to all three of the major bureaus, so the information reported can vary between reports; and 2) some creditors may still attempt to hold you liable for fraudulent accounts or transactions that are not identified and reported as such in a timely manner, citing negligence on your part. To avoid this, prompt and careful review of your monthly bank account and credit statements is very important, and more frequent requests and review of your credit reports may be beneficial.
How to Order Your Free Credit Reports under FACTA
There are three ways for you to request your free annual credit file disclosures (personal credit reports), from the national credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Innovis. Regardless of which method you use to request your report, you will be required to verify your identity by providing personal information including, but not limited to: your full name, date of birth, and Social Security number. You may also be required to correctly answer a brief series of identity verification questions for your protection.
Tip: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have established joint processes for allowing consumers to request their free annual credit reports. Innovis reports must be requested through separate processes, which are also described in this article.
Request Option 1: Order your reports through the official website
To Request Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion Credit Reports: To obtain your free annual credit file disclosure from one or all of the three primary national credit reporting agencies, you can visit the official website established by these agencies: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
To Request an Innovis Report: You will need to order your Innovis report separately through the Innovis website: https://www.innovis.com/InnovisWeb/pers_orderCreditReport.html
Request Option 2: Call toll free
To avoid many of the issues with the official Annual Credit Report website, you can also request your free annual reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by calling the special toll free number established by these credit bureaus: 1-877-322-8228
You will need to complete a verification process over the phone to confirm your identity. Your reports will be mailed to you within 15 days, and you should receive them within 2 to 3 weeks.
Innovis maintains a separate toll free number for ordering reports: 1-800-540-2505
You will need to complete a verification process over the phone to confirm your identity. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, and an automated system is available after-hours. You should receive your report within 3 to 5 business days.