Starting this month, people who live in 13 western states
will be able to get a copy of their credit reports for free, the Federal Trade
Commission announced recently.
The reports, which are being required under recent changes
to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, are available through the Web site www.annualcreditreport.com.
By ordering their credit reports, truckers can make sure
everything on their report is correct, and that there is no false information
that could adversely affect their credit – and therefore their business. In addition, truckers can also obtain a copy of their DAC reports under the new rules. DAC reports are covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Under the new provisions of the law, people who live in 13
western states will have access to their reports now, but within nine months,
all Americans will have access.
The first 13 states where residents can get access to their
reports are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho,
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Residents of the rest of the states will have access to
their reports on the following schedule:
- March 1, 2005 – Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North
Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin;
- June 1, 2005 – Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas; and
- Sept. 1, 2005 – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Virginia and West Virginia. That date will also include the District of
Columbia and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico.
Truckers who want to get a copy of their credit report can
do it three ways:
- Order it
online through www.annualcreditreport.com;
- Complete an Annual Credit Report Request Form
available through the FTC and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request
Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
The FTC says that when you order, you need to provide your
name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. To verify your
identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know,
like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
truckers who find the reports – with their mass of codes and jargon – difficult
to read, the Consumers Union, the organization the publishes Consumer
Reports magazine, has published a guide that helps readers review the
report for accuracy and correct mistakes if any are found. The guide is
available at: http://www.consumersunion.org/issues/creditmatters.html.
For example, the Consumers Union says truckers reviewing
their credit reports should make sure:
- That their names,
addresses, social security numbers and all other personal information is
- That there are no
accounts, debts, bankruptcies or other judgments on their reports that don’t
belong to them;
- That their payment
histories and balances are correct; and
- That any errors they
have reported in the past have been corrected.
The organization says its guide also has advice about what
to do if you discover that you are the victim of identity theft.
-- Mark H. Reddig, associate editor