Beware of Mixed Credit Files

It’s a good thing King Louis XVIII didn’t have a credit file with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion; because if he did, chances are good that one of the 17 other King Louis’s credit accounts would have been mixed in with his.

If your name is similar to someone else’s name, if you have a common name, if you are a Sr. or Jr. or have numerals after your name, you should check your credit report. Another individual’s unpaid bill, collection, or tax lien might be showing up on your report and dropping your credit score.

If you stroll happily through life without checking, you could be paying too much for auto insurance premiums, homeowner’s insurance, and credit card interest rates.

You should recognize each account as your own.

In addition, your name should be exactly correct.

To order your free annual credit report, send a one-sentence letter that says, “Please send me my free annual credit report.” One letter gets you all three credit bureaus’ reports. With your letter, include a copy of your photo ID (driver’s license or government-issued ID card) and one other piece of ID that confirms your correct name and mailing address.

Send your request by regular U.S. mail to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

No need to send by certified mail. If you have a freeze on your credit, that does not affect your ability to get your annual report through the mail.

The law allows you one free report per year for a reason: errors on credit reports are all too common.

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