Home > Identity Theft > 6 Signs You Need to Check Your Credit Report ASAP

Comments 0 Comments

It pays to be familiar with your credit report. The information it contains determines your credit score, your ability to access credit and loans, and even your chances of landing a job or signing a lease. It’s a good idea to check your credit report on at least an annual basis.

But in certain scenarios, you should closely monitor your credit report no matter when you last checked it. Here are six times you need to check your credit report.

  1. Debt Collectors are Calling

If you’re getting calls from debt collectors regarding unpaid bills, you may need to do some damage control. Whether the debt in question is valid or not, it could be showing up as a delinquent account on your credit report and damaging your credit score.

If the debt is invalid, you’ll need to dispute it with the credit bureaus and the debt collector. If the debt is valid, you might be able to negotiate its removal from your credit report as a condition of payment. Remember, you have rights when a debt collector calls, and you shouldn’t automatically pay a debt without getting more information first.

  1. You’re Getting Separated or Divorced

If you and your spouse are separating or divorcing, you’re probably splitting up your finances. Checking your credit report will help you identify all the accounts you need split up (although credit reports are in no way comprehensive). You’ll also want to monitor your credit report if you’re worried that your ex might try to use your personal information to open accounts in your name.

  1. You Recently Moved

Moving can be stressful and complicated. You might forget to pay your final bills or neglect to have mail forwarded to your new address. Months later, missed payments and delinquent accounts could land on your credit report and damage your credit. After you’ve spent a few months in your new home, you should check your credit report for any forgotten accounts.

  1. Your Personal Information is Compromised

Have you done business with a financial institution, company, or other organization that has suffered a data breach? Has your wallet or purse been stolen? If so, your personal information is compromised. You should check your credit report to see if anyone has used your information to commit identity theft.

  1. You’re Applying for Credit

If you’re about to apply for a mortgage, auto loan, credit card, or any other new form of credit, you should check your credit report first. You don’t want to get rejected due to any nasty surprises that are lurking on your credit report.

  1. It’s Been a Year Since You Last Checked

You’re entitled to an annual free copy of your credit report. This includes your Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax credit reports, all of which may not contain identical information. If you haven’t checked your credit report in a year, you have nothing to lose. It’s free, and contrary to popular belief, checking your credit report does not negatively affect your credit.

If some cases – such as if you’re unemployed or a victim of fraud – you can get free copies of your credit report more frequently.

If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated every 14 days.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.


Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team