questionsdo you take advantage of the free credit reports…

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I do the same thing you do, so I can keep a steady reading on them. Seems like the most logical way to monitor things.

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Used to do this regularly. Need to get back into it.

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I believe you are entitled to a credit report from the agencies themselves each year and certainly after an incident of identity theft.

Also, if you're concerned about identity theft, consider freezing your credit with each of the agencies. What it does is that it blocks all new inquiries from that point on. Businesses that you already have accounts with and have already given access to your credit report are still able to pull updates. Whenever you need to apply for credit, you can unfreeze it for a period of 1 to 30 days for a $10 fee. Better and cheaper than any service, especially that BS Lifelock.

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@tucnguyen: That's right. And annualcreditreport.com is the government web site set up to facilitate that.

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@lmensor: You'd be surprised at how many people I know that would get all 3 reports at the same time.

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@mtm2: I agree, you should get back into getting your credit reports on a regular basis. While I've not had any problems with what's in my reports my son had a number of errors in his a few years ago.

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@tucnguyen: When you request your report from freecreditreport.com you are getting it directly from the credit bureau that you choose.

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Thanks for the reminder. I usually do it around tax time but was too busy this year and forgot.

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Yep, it's time for me to get the next one.

Every four months, I get the free report from one of the three reporting agenies. I occasionally pay the extra $7 (I think it was last time I did) to get my credit score, though I don't especially care about it at present so I'm not going to pay extra for it.

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@jnissel: My wife and one of our sons (who she had co-signed for) had an error a few years ago and we got it cleared up because we pulled the reports.

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@jnissel: I'm sure you're accidentally mentioning freecreditreport.com and not intentionally. That's the one that enrolls you in a paid service. I'm sure their reports come from the bureaus too, but there's still no reason to even mention them.

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No one has mentioned www.creditkarma.com yet. It's free and you get your actual credit score. I like it so far and you can check it daily if you like.

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I check annualcreditreport.com every 4 months, using a different company each time, since each company allows one free report each year.

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Just did it in May. Stellar like always, but thanks for the heads-up.

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@kender: We use www.creditkarma.com, and check it bi-weekly. It's a great service! Plus, there's a lot of good information other than just the credit report on the site.

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@kender: I too will back up creditkarma. Great site and there is nothing to sign up for or any credit card info required. Just free credit reports.

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@thebopster: We do the same. It is nice to see what is hitting our score - say, applying for a new card and a credit inquiry showing up. If I were to see something questionable, I would not hesitate to take advantage of a free annual report.

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I get the free credit reports and also use quizzle.com (also free) through which you can get additional free Experian reports every 6 months

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I should say Quizzle also includes your score from Experian too

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@omnichad: You are right. I made a mistake in that one post. The correct one is annualcreditreport.com, as I had mentioned in my original question.

Thanks for catching the error.

If one of the mods could either correct or delete the incorrect link I would appreciate it.

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Yes, every year I review and download them.

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No because from what I've been told, each run of your credit report is recorded. When you go to buy something big (e.g. house, car, etc.) they want to know why you have so many hits on your report. Where there other loans you took out? Do you have undeclared debts? I was actually asked these kinds of questions when I refinanced this house. I forget why the credit report was run but I didn't go through with it. I had to write an explanation and sign it.

Interesting story though, my ex had great credit when he was young (before we married). Couldn't figure out how because he was horrible at managing money, always late on payments, bounce checks, etc. Then we went to buy a house after we were married. He couldn't buy a house because he already owned on in Illinois. He had a very common name and his credit report was mixed in with another guy's stuff. Took quite a few phone calls to explain that he didn't buy a house at 16 yrs old.

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@thunderthighs: To my knowledge, credit reports you request for yourself do not ding your credit scoring at all.

One year my Equifax report had six accounts listed that were not mine. They were perfectly good accounts, just not my own, and Equifax had the matter resolved within 10 days, fortunately.

I usually pull the free, unscored copies available through annualcreditreport.com yearly and pay for a full copy with scoring from Equifax annually as well. I don't spread them all out through the year, though; checking every six months is all I worry about.

Federal law also provides for you to obtain a free copy of any credit report which is used to deny your request for credit. Most lenders now will advise you of this, note which credit bureau they used, and tell you how to contact the appropriate credit bureau.

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@thunderthighs: The term is "soft" inquiry - that's when you check your own credit. These don't impact your credit history.

Other people checking your credit doesn't hurt unless you have a lot of hits (someone that can't get the deal they want jumping from car dealership to dealership, or their credit rating prevents them from getting a loan or credit card) will hurt. One or two of these isn't a problem.

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@thunderthighs: As Magic Cave said your inquires do not affect your credit score. Promotional inquires do not affect your score either. Those are considered soft inquires. Soft inquires do not show up on the report that is given to a creditor.

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@thunderthighs: As a follow up, I verified that so-called "soft" credit pulls don't impact your credit score. Here is how Equifax designates other types of inquiries:

PRM -- indicates that only your name and address were given to a credit grantor so they can provide you a firm offer of credit or insurance. (remains for twelve months.)

AM or AR -- indicates a periodic review of your credit history by one of your creditors. (remains for twelve months.)

EMPL -- indicates an employment inquiry. (remains for 24 months)

ND -- general inquiries that do not display to credit grantors. (remains for twelve months.)

ND MR -- indicates the reissue of a mortgage credit report containing information from your Equifax credit file to another company in connection with a mortgage loan. (remains for 24 months.)

PR -- indicates that a creditor reviewed your account as part of a portfolio they are purchasing. (remains for 12 months.)

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@thunderthighs:

Let me add to the people stating that this just isn't so. You can check your credit as often as you want without it affecting your scores at all. Same thing for checks that are done for promotional purposes (i.e. for offers of a new credit card or balance transfer to an existing card).

I believe that even multiple hard hits on your credit report, as long as they are over a very short period of time, say a few days to a week (e.g. when shopping for a home loan), don't ding your credit more than a single hit would.

I've been reading Liz Pulliam Weston's advice for years, mostly via MSN Money though she also has her own site. While she's not the only one out there with good advice, I've never seen her advise anything that wasn't 100% solid and correct (just make sure you actually understand what, and more importantly, why she advises what she does),

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I sit corrected. Thanks for the good info. Last time I pulled my credit report was probably 8 yrs ago and it was mostly ok but had stuff mixed up with my ex. Now that he's passed away, it may be worth another check.

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@baqui63 said: :I believe that even multiple hard hits on your credit report, as long as they are over a very short period of time, say a few days to a week (e.g. when shopping for a home loan), don't ding your credit more than a single hit would."

That's only partially true. Multiple credit inquiries (hard hits) over a short period of time do not affect your credit score for a short period of time. But after 30 days those same inquiries in that short period DO affect it. In addition, companies that see those multiple inquiries could still deny you credit because they won't know if the inquiries are just for a single purpose and they might feel you are trying to get too much credit.