Checking your credit report allows you to keep track of your financial progress, as well as catch any mistakes or fraudulent accounts.
1. To detect identity fraud early
We all know we should check our credit card statements every month for charges that we haven't made. But that only catches the thief who uses an account you know you have. Scan for signs of possible fraud with your free credit report.
In the past few years, identity fraud has risen dramatically. In this insidious form of credit fraud, a thief steals your good credit by taking over or opening accounts in your name, running up large balances and leaving you to deal with the collectors when they come calling.
New accounts opened with your identity will appear on your credit report, revealing identity fraud to you. If you don't check your credit report, it could be months before the credit grantor, fed up with nonpayment, turns the account over to a collector who tracks you down and demands payment for a loan you've never even heard of.
As with much less problematic inaccuracies, identity fraud is something you can detect and remedy most effectively by checking your credit history thoroughly and on a routine basis.
If you believe you've been a victim of identity theft, you can click HERE to send a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To learn more about identity theft, visit the FTC's Identity Theft Site.
2. To become an informed consumer of credit services
Your credit report can have a dramatic impact on your financial stability. With good credit, you can obtain benefits of all kinds - a home mortgage or lease on an apartment, an auto loan, low-interest credit cards and more - with ease. But if your credit history is poor, many of these financial options may be unavailable to you. Either way, you have a right to know what to expect when a lender runs a credit check on you.
Aside from paying your bills regularly and on time, the single most important thing you can do to ensure that when others check into your credit they'll find you to be a good risk is to be aware of the contents of your credit report. Check your report for free and approach lenders with confidence.
Studies have shown that many credit files contain inaccuracies that can harm your credit rating, leading to rejections when you apply for loans, insurance, or even a job. Often the result of simple human error, they can be caused by anything from a clerical error to a computer glitch in which your file is mixed with that of someone with a similar name.
That's why it's essential that you check all of your credit files - and monitor your credit regularly - to protect your good credit standing, even if you always pay all your bills on time.
And if your credit is less than perfect now, checking your report will help you identify lingering problems so you can deal with them effectively and move on toward an improved credit standing. Whatever your situation, reviewing your report regularly is the only way to be sure that you will go into any credit conversations knowing everything lenders will know.
You can take a few simple precautions that can help you guard your online privacy. Because few laws reach into this area, you'll have to take the initiative.
Avoid internet identity theft with these ten tips.