Now that you've learned about ID theft, credit reports and credit scores, let's take a moment to explain how to obtain your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. The credit reporting agencies assemble information in slightly different ways so it is important to review a report from each bureau at least every year.
If you have not checked your reports in the past year, you may do so now for free at the government-mandated website. Please read the important messages below before proceeding to the credit report website we link to at the bottom of this page. It takes about five minutes to receive each report.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE #1: You will need to provide detailed personal information to get your report. Do not get your report if you are currently working on a public or shared computer. Come back later when you are working on a trusted computer. Why? Computers in public places may have malicious "key logger" programs installed that write down everything that is typed. These programs bypass the security procedures set up by the credit reporting agencies.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE #2: By clicking this link, you are leaving the PNC Education Loan Center website. While AnnualCreditReport.com is the only government-mandated free credit report website, each of the credit reporting agencies may attempt to sell you other services (such as credit scores, identity theft protection and credit monitoring) when you order your free reports. You do not have to buy any of the services offered to get your free report.
Buying Your Credit Score
There's no harm in knowing your credit scores (yes, there are multiple credit scores too), but many of the credit reporting bureaus use a "free" credit score as a way to sign you up for other services that result in monthly bills totaling over $150 per year. On the other hand, services such as Credit Karma do offer free scores, but require that you disclose personal information to a third party other than the credit reporting bureaus.
If you find inaccurate information on your report, you will need to contact the credit bureau (Experian™, Equifax™ or TransUnion™) to either dispute the inaccurate information or have them open an investigation if you suspect ID theft. You can do so online after receiving your report.
Click the following link to get your free credit report(s): AnnualCreditReport.com.