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
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
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
- 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
–By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor