Your credit rating is important!
Below is a list of activities that can be affected by your credit rating:
- Purchasing a home
- Purchasing a car
- Getting a loan
- Getting a job
Keeping and having a good credit rating is a great responsibility. Some pointers on building a good credit rating are as follows:
- Pay bills on time
- Avoid racking up debt on credit cards that will be difficult to pay off in a timely manner.
- Create a budget and stick to it (more...)
- Use common sense in your spending practices
Once financial difficulties arise, it is important to seek good advice. If your finances have grown out of control and you need assistance, do your homework and visit a reputable financial advisor. Visit DebtAdvice.org or call 1-800-388-2227 for 24-hour automated office listings.
Para ayuda en Español llame al 1-800-682-9832 de 9 a 5, de Lunes a Viernes E.S.T.
Getting Your Credit Score
To get copies of your report, contact the three major credit reporting agencies:
- Equifax: (800) 685-1111
- Experian (formerly TRW): (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- Trans Union: (800) 916-8800
These agencies may charge you up to $9.00 for your credit report.
You can now get a free copy of your credit report! You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year. You can request your free copy on the web at www.annualcreditreport.com
, by phone at 1-877-322-8228 or by submitting the request for by mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
These reports will NOT include your credit score. You have to purchase your score from one of the three reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Please be aware of other offers of free credit reports. Some of these other free services will lead to you being enrolled in programs that require fees and receiving unwanted mail and email.
Get More Information
The Federal Trade Commission provides a great deal of information on its website. Visit FTC.gov
to view these resources.
Another valuable source of bankruptcy information is Nolo.com. Nolo offers legal information on debt and bankruptcy in easy-to-understand, layman's terms. Visit them at nolo.com
Protect Yourself From Credit Fraud
Check and credit card fraud are growing problems in our area.
There are, however, some simple steps you can take to protect yourself before anything happens. Once fraud occurs, it can be a nightmare for you to establish the truth.
- Never print your Social Security number on your checks. A thief can sometimes turn that information into identity theft.
- When you order checks, only print your first initials and last name on them. That way, if your checks are stolen, the thief won't know how you actually sign your checks, but your bank will have your signature on file.
- Never put your credit card number on a check you're writing to pay on that card account. You only have to put the last four numbers because the company will know the rest of them. If your check is intercepted along the way, the thief won't have your whole card number.
- Make a photocopy of your credit cards and drivers license (front and back). Store the copy in a safe place so you can call the right numbers in case of theft. Most credit cards have a customer service phone number on the back so you can report any theft as quickly as possible.
- In case of theft, call the police and file a report. This will show you were doing the right thing in case a thief tries to use your credit card later.
- There is a third type of call you need to make after you've called the police and your credit card company. There are three credit-reporting companies that track your credit. By calling them and reporting the theft, you are notifying them of possible fraud on your name and Social Security number. This means that a company has to contact you before authorizing any new credit in your name. So the thief loses out. In addition, you should report any theft to the Social Security Administration so your number can't be used by a thief. The numbers are:
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): (888) 397-3742
Trans Union: (800) 680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): (800) 269-0271
The information on this website should not be a substitute for the advice of a professional.