Check your free credit report on 2/2

Much like efforts that encourage people to get a medical check-up or a flu shot, a campaign by University of Wisconsin-Extension educators urges people to check their credit report to improve their financial health.

The “Check Your Free Credit Report: 2/2, 6/6 10/10” campaign aims to make it easier for people to monitor their financial well-being. UW-Extension educators around the state are reminding people to view their three free reports each year on Feb. 2, June 6 and Oct. 10.

Consumers are responsible for checking the accuracy of credit reports prepared by the private firms Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and sold to other businesses.

“2/2, 6/6, 10/10 are three easy days to remember to set aside just five minutes of your time to pull your credit report from one credit bureau,” said J. Michael Collins, UW-Extension family and consumer economics specialist and director of the UW-Madison Center for Financial Security. “It is a simple way that you can remember to keep tabs on your credit report on a regular basis.”

The campaign’s website at fyi.uwex.edu/creditreport provides information on the “Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign: 2/2,6/6, 10/10.” The site offers information on why it is important to check your credit report and can walk consumers through the process of pulling and reading the reports.

The information found in your credit report can play a role in whether you are offered a job or eligible for a loan. But in spite of credit reports’ importance, only about 16 million free reports are ordered each year out of more than 200 million people in the U.S. with credit records. In Wisconsin, only about four out of 10 Wisconsin residents check their credit reports on a yearly basis (www.usfinancialcapability.org/).
Collins notes that there is only one legitimate source for a free credit report.

“AnnualCreditReport.com (www.annualcreditreport.com/) and its mailing address and phone number are the only truly no-cost ways to obtain the free credit reports everybody is entitled to by law,” he said.
Other websites claim to offer free reports, scores or monitoring, but they often incur significant one-time or ongoing fees. Unsolicited e-mails, pop-ups or phone calls offering free scores or reports are not official.
Checking one free credit report every four months lets people do their own credit monitoring without having to pay up to $10 or even $20 a month—typical amounts charged for these services.

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