“We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought.”
In 2003, I had my identity stolen. I had never used a credit card in my life, but my credit was established by total strangers. They bought expensive merchandise and opened credit cards in my name. When my dad checked my credit, he realized we needed to fix it and fix it fast so I spent the next 10 YEARS proving that none of the expenses were mine in order to get them removed.
I have finally gotten everything straightened out, but I now know more about credit than I ever wanted to. I keep a close eye on my credit report to make sure that no strange expenses pop up again. Did you know you are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three agencies? Well you are! Since there are three different agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax), you can request a credit report once from each one every year. If you space it out every four months you can keep an eye on your credit ALL YEAR LONG FOR FREE!
At the end of each year, I print out the form to fill out (get it HERE). I print six copies so that I can fill them out for Babe’s credit reports and mine. I go ahead and fill out all six forms and address the envelopes with stamps. I have reminders in my phone so that I can remember to mail them. I keep them in a folder and then when the time comes, I just drop them in the mail! I request credit reports from TransUnion in January, Experian in May and Equifax in September. With this method, I am able to track my credit all year long.
If I notice something wrong, I am able to fix it quickly. In fact, last year, Babe’s credit was all screwed up because they put his dad’s mortgage on his credit! I have still had a few fake addresses pop up from when my identity was stolen, but I am able to get those fixed pretty quick by disputing them online.
Overall, this is a great way to keep tabs on your credit. The credit companies are quick to throw things on your credit, even if they are not yours. If someone else has the same name as you, they might put something on your credit if they cannot find that person. They are also VERY SLOW (*cough* 10 years) to remove inaccurate information because they hear it from people all the time that “It’s not me”. It is our job to make sure we maintain good credit so make sure you are monitoring yours!
Let me know if you have any other helpful tips or questions! I would LOVE to hear them.
Thanks for reading and God Bless,