For the City Times
The Federal Trade Commission reports that only one out of every three Wisconsin adults checks their free credit report each year, making Wisconsin the sixth lowest of all the states.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension “Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign – 3 Times a Year” wants to turn those numbers around by making it easier to remember to order a free credit report.
Federal law gives everyone the right to request one free credit report each year from the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. There are three ways to order your free credit report: through the mail, by phone, or at the website AnnualCreditReport.com.
“Ordering a free credit report is relatively easy and will take most people less than five minutes,” said Sarah Siegel, family living educator for Wood County UW-Extension. “What’s not so easy is actually remembering to order your reports and keeping an eye on your credit worthiness throughout the year.”
Anyone can sign up to receive an email reminder from UW-Extension three times a year – on Feb. 2, June 6 and Oct. 10 – on the campaign’s website at http://fyi.uwex.edu/creditreport.
While you can order all three reports at the same time, the Wood County UW-Extension recommends that you view one report every four months so you can be sure that the information is up-to-date and accurate year round.
“It is completely up to each individual to look over his or her own credit report for old information that should be removed, common mistakes, or signs of identity theft,” said Siegel. “Sometimes wrong information is a simple data entry error, and other times, it could be a sign of fraud. Better to discover an error yourself then to have your creditor, insurance company, or employer find it first.”
In addition to email reminders, the UW-Extension Check Your Free Credit Report Campaign website, http://fyi.uwex.edu/creditreport, provides information and website links for ordering, reading, and understanding your free credit reports.
The campaign’s website has additional information on how long different types of credit information can stay on a report and steps to take to increase your credit score.
For more information on credit reports, contact Siegel (715) 421-9437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the Wood County UW-Extension website at http://wood.uwex.edu for more information.
To Learn More
As part of the campaign to encourage community members to check their credit report, Wood County UW-Extension Family Living will be holding a Financial Lunch & Learn on February 2nd from 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM.
Attendees will learn how to check their credit report, how to read the report, how to correct errors and other resources for maintaining their credit worthiness.
The Financial Lunch & Learn will be held at the Wood County Courthouse Auditorium. To register for this event call the Family Living office at 715.421.8437, or email email@example.com.