Credit Report

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

There is no better time than the beginning of the year to check your credit report. Even if you have an excellent credit history, there’s always the possibility that inaccurate information could sneak onto your credit report. 

It is also a good idea to check your credit report every year to help guard against identity theft, look for accounts you did not open, look for discrepancies between credit bureaus, identify accounts that are still open that you thought you closed and identify any unexplained transactions.  Ordering your free credit reports does not affect your credit or credit score making it that much more of a reason to obtain your free credit reports. 

As of 2005, new law gives consumers the right to one free credit report a year from each of the three national credit bureaus. You can choose reports from all three credit bureaus at one time or choose a report from one of the three credit bureaus three times a year.

The only website under the law authorized to fill free credit report requests is There are three ways to order your report:

By phone (toll free) – 1-877-322-8228

On-line at

By mail: Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Obtain the form from

Consumers be aware! Only the website and phone number above are the official and guaranteed-safe methods of requesting your credit report. Other services that offer free credit reports might be trying to steal your personal information, OR they might be trying to sell you something. If you call any other number or go to any other website, you are giving your information to an unknown person or company.

In order to obtain your credit report, you will need to give your social security number, birth date and other personal information. It is safe to do so. The credit bureau already has this information, and they want to make sure they are giving out a copy of the credit report to the correct person. They may also, for further verification, ask you for information about one or more of your credit accounts or loans.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumers Sciences