People may wait in excessively long lines to get a bite-sized sample at Costco, but nearly half of Americans don’t take advantage of a much more important freebie.
According to a new Equifax survey, most consumers know they have access to free credit reports each year, but 42% don’t seem to be capitalizing on the offer. According to the survey, 14% having never checked their credit report at all. A full 12% of participants didn’t remember when they last checked their report and 16% said it had been more than a year since they had. (If you haven’t checked your credit report, or it’s been a while, you can view your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)
“Reviewing your credit report regularly is a great first step when it comes to improving financial literacy,” Diane Moogalian, Vice President of Operations for Equifax Personal Information Solutions, said in a press release. “Getting into this healthy financial habit may provide consumers with insight into factors that may need to be addressed and could possibly help one address identity theft.”
Equifax’s data is based on responses to an online survey from 1,008 American consumers in April. The margin of error is plus or minus 5%.
How Credit Reports Can Flag Identity Theft
Data breaches are extremely common now and they often lead to identity theft, which can damage both your bank account and your credit score. Because of these breaches, you may be a victim without realizing it until a lot of damage is done.
Checking your credit report on a regular basis is one of the first steps to catching errors that can come from several sources, whether from an identity thief or even lender’s error. By pulling your reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — you can review the records to see if they’re accurate. If you see something you don’t agree with, here is a guide on how to dispute errors. You can also go here to find out what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.
[Offer: If you’re worried about errors on your credit reports, and you don’t want to go it alone, you can hire companies – like our partner Lexington Law – to manage the credit repair process for you. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report