LOS ANGELES - In a follow up to his September warning about how consumers should protect themselves following the massive Equifax data breach, City Attorney Mike Feuer today encouraged Angelenos to obtain their free annual credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com before year’s end. Each of the three credit bureaus are required to provide free copies through this site once every 12 months as a result of 2003’s Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).
"With our personal data seemingly under constant assault from massive data breaches, knowing what's in our credit reports can help prevent identify theft," said City Attorney Mike Feuer. "We need to be vigilant. If we're not, identity thieves can ruin our credit scores, wipe out dreams of owning a home or business, or even worse."
Free credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, obtained at
www.annualcreditreport.com, will give Los Angeles consumers a summary of their credit histories, including payment history, inquiries made by financial institutions and information on the public record, such as foreclosures or bankruptcies. This website is the only one authorized by Federal law to provide this valuable information. At the very least, credit reports should be checked once a year.
The City Attorney also warns consumers to be cautious of other websites that claim to offer free credit reports. Only www.annualcreditreport.com is authorized to provide the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law. Other websites that claim to offer "free credit reports," "free credit scores," or "free credit monitoring" are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program and could end up charging you fees.
After visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, consumers should close their Internet browser to be sure their transaction is secure and their personal information is not at risk. Consumers also may order their free annual credit report by calling toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. For additional safety measures, consumers should consider placing freezes on their credit reports with the three agencies which make it harder for new accounts to be opened in their name. Equifax is offering this service for free until January 31 2018.
The nationwide credit reporting companies and www.annualcreditreport.com will not send you emails asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call or text message from someone claiming to be from www.annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. Instead, forward to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.