Consumer Advisory: Monitoring Credit Scores Can Ensure Good Credit, Prevent ID Theft

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Yesterday Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane encouraged consumers to keep a careful watch over their credit scores, especially if they intend to make any large purchases, to remain in good standing and avoid identity theft.

• A good credit report often allows consumers to qualify for a credit card, or purchase a home or car. For these reasons, it is vital to routinely review credit history to resolve any problems or delinquencies. Kane said consumers can educate themselves about the benefits of monitoring their credit and offered the following advice:

• You have the right to obtain a copy of your credit report;

• In most cases, you have the right to know the names of companies or organizations that have received your credit report within the last year;

• You have the right to know the name and address of the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) used by a company which has denied your application for credit;

• If your application for credit has been denied because of information supplied by a CRA, you have the right to a free copy of your credit report. You must request your free copy no more than 60 days after your denial;

• You have the right to file a dispute with the CRA and with the company from which the CRA obtained the information in your credit report if you contest the accuracy of that information. Both the CRA and the source of their information have a legal obligation to reinvestigate the information in dispute;

• If you are unemployed and planning to look for a job within the next 60 days, are receiving welfare benefits, or if your credit report is inaccurate because of fraud, you are entitled to one free credit report. Otherwise, an agency can charge you per copy.

Consumers can check their credit report through Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (1-800-680-7289), which are considered the three largest credit reporting companies.

If consumers find errors on their report, contact the reporting company in writing. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each company every 12 months. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Credit reporting bureaus and AnnualCreditReport.com will not send consumers an email or call asking for personal information. Consumers should not reply to unsolicited messages or click through any links, and should hang up on such calls.

Consumers can place a fraud alert on their credit reports to help mitigate potential issues by contacting the three credit reporting agencies listed above.

For more information about credit reports or any consumer-related issues, Attorney General Kane encourages Commonwealth residents to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov.


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