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If you are thinking of purchasing a home in the future, it is a smart practice to screen your credit report annually and to consult with an expert. Reviewing your credit reports helps you catch signs of identity theft early. There are three major credit bureaus: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies to provide a free copy of your credit report. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies.

You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies? Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity. Lots of sites promise free credit reports but the above mentioned is the only official site directed by the Federal law to provide them.

There are many types of consumer reports. Some of the most popular reports that a consumer is going to come in contact with are the following; Dunn and Bradstreet, Experian Business Report, and Check Systems. These consumer agencies report credit information on businesses large and small. These consumer reports in the past were rarely looked at by financial institutions, even when attempting to acquire a business loan. In the past, banks would primarily rely on your personal credit score and the corporate financials which were usually supplied by the corporate accountant. Nowadays, banks are starting to subscribe and rely on business credit reports due to the significant default in business lines of credit in today’s economy. These consumer reports must adhere to the same guidelines and consumer protection laws as all consumer reporting agencies. You can still legally get negative items off of a business consumer credit report.

Check Systems is another consumer report which is strictly used among the banks in an attempt to protect banks from allowing individuals with a past bad check writing history to open an account and leave a tornado of damage with more bad checks being written. Most people aren’t aware that you are entitled to a free copy of your check systems consumer report and you can dispute and remove negative items off of this report. Check Systems has a policy that attempts to force you to deal directly with the banks and pay them back directly.

Whether you’re buying a home or not, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score and your checking/banking systems for fraud. Trust me as I was fraudulently reported as being dead to the credit bureaus years ago. Reference:

https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report