What Is the Fact Act?
The Federal Fact Act of September 1, 2005, requires TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax to issue a free credit score to every consumer. This act came about because Congress wanted all citizens to be able to monitor their credit yearly, free of charge. Before this act, each of the three credit bureaus charged $9.50 per requested credit score.
All consumers, whether employed or not, are entitled to a free yearly credit score. Victims of identity theft are also entitled to complimentary credit scores. The Federal Government also gives every citizen the option of receiving one free annual score from a consumer reporting agency that compiles reports on employment, insurance, and medical and housing history.
How to Receive a Free Credit Score
Consumers may order a free copy of their credit scores by visiting the official website www.annualcreditreport.com, by calling (877) 322-8228 or by mail. A copy of the mail-in form can be found at www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf
Their mailing address is:Annual Credit Score Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
It is recommended that consumers order their free scores by phone or mail because hundred of imposter websites have recently been exposed. Some of these imposter websites try to lure consumers in with free offers, but they actually try to sell credit monitoring services, while others try to steal consumers’ personal information.
Consumers should consider ordering a free credit score every four months by following this plan:
- June – order TransUnion credit score
- October – order Experian credit score
- February – order Equifax score
By doing this, consumers are able to monitor their credit scores, on a consistent basis, for any suspicious activity. If a free credit score order has been placed online, consumers will receive it immediately. If consumers order their scores by phone or through the mail, they should receive them within 15 days. Also, it may take longer to receive a credit score if the consumer reporting agency needs additional information to confirm a consumer’s identity.
How to Receive Additional Free Credit Scores
Consumers are eligible to receive an additional credit score within a 12 month period if a company takes adverse action against them, but consumers must request their scores within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. Consumers who are unemployed and plan on looking for work within 60 days are also eligible to receive a free additional credit score as well as consumers who are on welfare or victims of identity theft.
Consumers who live in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont may already access their credit score free of charge.
Information Needed to Receive a Free Credit Report
Consumers will need to provide their name, address, social security number and date of birth when requesting a free credit score. If they have moved recently, then they may also be required to provide their previous address. Each national consumer reporting agency may ask consumers for some confidential information, such as the amount of their monthly loan payment, in order to verify their identity. Please note that each agency may ask for different confidential information.
How to Report Credit Score Errors
Under Federal law, consumer reporting agencies and information providers are required to correct any inaccurate or incomplete credit score information. If any errors or inaccurate information are found, consumers should contact their consumer reporting company as well as their information provider, and inform both parties, in writing, of what information is inaccurate. Consumer reporting agencies are required to investigate the information in question within 30 days and are also required to forward all relevant consumer data provided to the information provider.
Once the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting agency will provide the consumer with results along with a corrected credit score and the information provider’s name, address and phone number.
If the consumer reporting agency does not correct any disputed information, consumers may request a fee that a statement be included in their future credit scores. Also, if consumers alert their information providers of any disputed information, the information providers are required to provide a notice of their dispute any time the disputed information is reported to a consumer reporting agency.
Below contains important links to detailed information about the Fact Act and related government acts: