Scores to make or break you
Published 5:58 pm Saturday, March 5, 2005
By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Free credit reports can now be obtained.
As of March 1, residents in the state of Michigan can order free copies of their credit report each year.
Obtaining one of these reports is important in the battle against identity theft.
Residents of Niles thought the idea of offering the credit reports for free was a great thing and many of them thought they would try and take advantage of the service.
Leddrew Smith of Niles said, "I had heard that they were going to do something like this and I think it's great. I think it's really a good idea to counter identity fraud."
Jackie Covyeou said, "I would probably use it if it helped in any way, and they used to be somewhat expensive, so getting one for free would be great."
Paula Wilson said, "I think I will be taking advantage of this service quite soon, especially after the scare a few weeks ago with the records from that bank being lost."
Wilson added that she thought people really should take advantage of this seeing as how identity theft is getting to be more of a worry these days.
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has said, "Educating yourself about your personal credit history is the first step towards empowering yourself as a consumer."
He really encourages every consumer in Michigan to take advantage of this opportunity.
Credit reports contain a collection of personal, as well as financial information including your address, telephone number, and a detailed credit history.
Your credit history contains things such as accounts that are opened, and unpaid debts.
When you review your credit report, you can detect fraudulent activity and limit the potential damage that could be done by identity thieves.
The reports can be obtained from each of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
These three companies have established a single site for consumers to use when ordering the reports.
The state of Michigan does have some warnings about the reports you get from online, beware of e-mail, pop-up ads, banner ads and telemarketing calls that promise to get you a "free annual credit report." Many of these are frauds, seeking to trick the consumers into sharing personal information with them and using it for identity theft.
When you do finally get your report, check each section of it over carefully and make sure you believe the information is correct. Your report can help you to determine if anything looks supicious.
If you do find wrong information, dispute it in writing.
You can get your free credit report form www.annualcreditreport.com and you should think about obtaining one every 12 months.
For more information on what to do about getting your free credit report, go to www.michigan.gov/ag.
You can also obtain your report by calling (877)322-8228 or through the mail at Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The form for this service can be obtained through www.ftc.gov/credit.