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By | May 20, 2012

Dear Toolkit,

I read somewhere that we should now be able to access free reports from the credit bureaus. Could this be true? I know it's a good idea to get one periodically, but the cost and hassle have been a deterrent. Please advise.

Thanks,

Conscientious Creditor

Dear CC,

You are so right! As of December 1, 2004, a key law dubbed the FACT Act took effect. (FACT stands for the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.) That law updates the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act and, amongst other protections, provides consumers with a free credit report every year. Consumers can request reports from one of the major bureaus or from all three, from the Annual Credit Report Central Source, or by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by mailing a request to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box, 105283, Atlanta, GA 30348-5283.

The law also created a national fraud alert system simplifying a consumer's ability to report suspicious activities. They can contact any of the three bureaus and ask that a fraud alert be placed on their credit reports.

Be sure to read the FAQs at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/helpfaq.

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