Q: I was just wondering if anyone checks their credit reports on a regular basis? Identity theft seems to be increasing- reports have tripled this year. Many of the new cases are web-related. In polls of Web excecutives, it seems that a full 64% are fearful of having their own identities/accounts stolen or hacked. Of course, one of the main recommended steps is to order credit reports from all 3 major credit reporting agencies at least once yearly. This could get expensive if a couple orders reports for both people every six months. That is 12 reports at $8/each = $96/year. Anybody know of a cheaper way to do this?
A: I don't think you need to get reports from all 3 agencies twice a year. Unless there is some problem, the agencies will all report the same data. I get a report every six months from one of the agencies, and a full 3 agency report about once every two years. And I had an identity theft problem a few years back, so I had a lot of reason to scrutinize my credit reports for a while. Except for some very minor differences, I didn't find any differences from one agency to another. Once, during the height of the identity problems, one agency did report something that another one didn't, but it was just a question of timing, I ordered another one a month or so later and they were identical. If you apply for credit and are denied, you can get a credit report for free. However, too many applications can look bad on your credit report, so I wouldn't suggest applying for something you know you won't get just so you can get a free report. I got some information about a credit "monitoring" service once that provided a certain number of credit reports each year plus notification if something new appeared, but I thought it was overpriced compared to what you got. .
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