If you feel that any of your private financial information has been
stolen, review your credit report immediately. You are entitled to receive
at least 1 free copy of your credit report each year. Look for erroneous information,
possible illegal activity, or unauthorized credit checks. As a general rule,
the earlier you report fraudulent activity, the lower your liability. If you
have a joint credit card or bank account with someone, encourage that person
to review his or her credit report as well since credit reports are specific
to individuals. The 3 credit reporting agencies to contact are Equifax (800)
685-1111, Experian (800) 682-7654, and TransUnion (800) 916-8800. It is important
to request copies from all 3 agencies because each reports different information.
The reports usually provide consumers with guidance on how to correct errors
or improper information on the reports. Correcting this information before
it causes problems will reduce stress and save time. As in medicine, prevention
is much easier to achieve than a cure.