Marking the final phase of the process, residents of 14 states and the District of Columbia can now obtain free copies of their credit reports in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Staff in the OOIDA Business Services Department recommend that truckers check their credit reports every year to make sure all of the information is correct. Incorrect information could adversely affect your credit – and therefore your business.
The free credit reports have been phased in across the country by region this year. Along with the final 14 states and Washington, DC, residents in U.S. territories can now obtain the free reports.
Residents in the final 14 states became eligible for the free reports as of 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.
In addition to the federally mandated free credit reports, truckers can also obtain a copy of their USIS/DAC reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
People who want to get a copy of their credit report can do it three ways:
- Order it on the Internet by visiting annualcreditreport.com;
- Call 1-877-322-8228; or
- Complete an Annual Credit Report Request Form available through the Federal Trade Commission and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO 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 that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, has published a guide that helps people review the report for accuracy and correct mistakes if any are found. The guide is available at: http://consumersunion.org/news/your-credit-matters/.
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;
- 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.