Identity Theft 101

There is something that you can do right now-that you should do right now-and that is to check your credit report.

You don't have to wait until you are a victim of identity theft to dig deep into your credit history. (Unless you like feeling like your living in a real life Law & Order episode where a bad guy steals your identity…it's not a day at the beach folks).

And, checking your credit report takes just a few minutes.

Besides being proactive to ensure your credit report is accurate (meaning correct name, address, employers, accounts, etc.), you want to make sure you have not become the victim of identity theft. 

Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.  

The three major credit reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

A good rule of thumb is to check your report around your birthday. You might also decide to check one of the reports every four months. Keep in mind each report looks different, and reports items differently.

You can visit to access all three reports-this is the only authorized website for free credit reports (per the Federal Trade Commission).

If you discover inaccurate information, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. 

This is something I can't stress enough-you must contact BOTH the credit reporting companies as well as the company providing inaccurate information. Both entities must correct the information.

Rather than waiting to see if you become an identity theft victim, check your credit reports, and make sure that what is being reported in your name is accurate.