Free credit reports now available in 12 more states

| Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Starting this week, residents of 12 central states will be able to receive a free copy of their credit report, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Those states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

To obtain your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com on the Internet. The reports must be provided free of charge because of recent changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

By ordering their credit reports, truckers can make sure 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, which are also covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

DAC reports can be requested by calling 1-800-331-9175.

The free credit reports are being phased in across the country. Residents of 13 western states were the first to have access to the reports. Those states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The following states gained access to the reports on June 2, 2005: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Residents of the rest of the states will have access to their reports on Sept. 1. Those states are: 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;
  • Call 1-877-322-8228; or
  • 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.

For 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:

  • Their names, addresses, social security numbers and all other personal information is correct;
  • There are no accounts, debts, bankruptcies or other judgments on their reports that don’t belong to them – sometimes credit histories of other people with similar names are erroneously included on individual’s credit reports;
  • Their payment histories and balances are correct; and
  • 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.

–By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Mark_Reddig@landlinemag.com

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