Protect Your Credit During the COVID-19 Crisis Part I
August 25, 2020 by Hunter Swanson
Your credit might be the last thing on your mind as the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve. But along with your physical health being a top priority, so should the state of your financial health.
Due to the hardship caused by COVID-19, all U.S. consumers can get free weekly online credit reports now through April 20, 2021 from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Remember your credit report and credit score are two different things, and your report will not include your credit score.
- A credit score is calculated from your credit history and behavior – information found in your credit report.
- A credit report is a statement of your credit activity and current credit situation. It includes a history of your loan payments and status of credit accounts.
There are four main ways you can acquire your score:
- Checking your credit card or other loan statements
- Talking to a non-profit certified credit counselor
- Using a credit score service
- Buying a score directly from one of the three credit bureaus
How to Order Your Credit Report
The free reports are available only through AnnualCreditReport.com and 1-877-322-8228.
You’ll need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you’ve moved in the last two years, you may need to provide your previous address. For security purposes and to verify your identity, you may be asked for information only you would know.
Beware of “Imposter” Websites
The only website authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are legally entitled to is AnnualCreditReport.com. Other sites that claim to offer “free credit report” or “free credit monitoring” aren’t part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program and in some cases have strings attached to the “free” product being advertised.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for you – the consumer – to prevent fraud and unfair business practices in the marketplace. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC and/or the Attorney General of your state.
Now that you have some tools to help you keep an eye on your credit, it’s time to be proactive. Check out Protect Your Credit During the COVID-19 Crisis Part II for recommendations to help you keep your credit on solid footing during these trying times.
BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.