You probably already know that you can get a free copy of your credit report (notice that I said report, not score) if you have been turned down within the last 60 days for credit, employment, insurance, or a rental dwelling because of information in your credit report. You probably also already know that you are entitled to one free report per year from each of the three credit agencies by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
I also have a couple of additional ways to get a free credit report that I don't see other people writing about. The first is to write to the major credit bureaus and request to be removed from their promotional lists (a truly great way to reduce the amount of junk mail and credit card offers you receive). I have no idea why this gets you a free credit report, but it does. I've also found that if I write with any other sort of inquiry about my report, like whether my new address is showing up in my credit report after a recent move, they will also send me a free copy of my report.
Here are the addresses (and phone numbers, if calling is more your style):
PO Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
In the age of identity theft, you really can't check your credit report too often. Though I think it's beyond ridiculous that I have to pay money to monitor my credit because the credit bureaus are so incompetent at their jobs, I'm going to be signing up for a credit monitoring service after reading about an experience that fellow personal finance writer Teri Newton had recently which goes to show that even the most careful among us can still become victims.
Photo by fedewild