I think the jingle “F to the R to the E to the E” and so on and so forth, spouting the free credit report jingle that became so popular with the first ad put for by freecreditreport.com with the guy who’s in a ridiculous pirate waiter uniform because he got his identity stolen. Ever since that commercial, and that many radio jingles and ad spots that followed from this big supplier of free credit score checks, have remained stuck in our heads as a tribute to what I must say is pretty ingenious marketing.
But they’ve alos had a lot of help from American’s increasing awareness of problems with identity theft and credit card theft, with more and more reports streaming in of people getting their credit histories messed up royally by some scam artist who either stole their credit card numbers or stole their social security number and other vital information and used to get credit in their name, racking up bills with the person who did nothing wrong holding the bag for the bill at the end, and not even getting to enjoy all these purchases!
That’s just one of the main reasons that people are increasingly looking for places to get their free credit score checks, but there are others as well. Some people like to be able to keep tabs on their credit from week to week or month to month, and like to sign up for services that will automatically alert them when their credit report has been updated or adversely affected, so they can be almost immediately aware if a situation should arise that may indicate their credit has been tampered with.
You are actually entitled to getting a free credit score check (I believe it’s) once a year, and anything after that you usually have to sign up for a pay service that will give you monthly or weekly, or even biweekly, reports of where your credit stands and of any outstanding issues that may be hurting or otherwise impacting your credit score.
Credit means everything these days unfortunately. Every company now runs your credit score so they can check against it to see what type of pay back risk you are. The worse your credit score, the less likely you will get important loans for large items like cars or home mortage loans, and those mean that yoru credit report and subsequent FICO score can severely impact your quality of life, even ruining your chances of buying a nice little home some day if you’re not careful.
Then you hear the horror stories of good, hardworking people, getting their credit ruined by either some sort of scheme or identity theft, or even some bill that they didn’t even know was out there for years showing up when they go to get an important loan. I’ve had this happen to me personally. I was actually trying to rent an apartment several years ago (this was when the popularity of running credit scores on prospective tenants was just starting to gain), and found that there was a very old medical bill on my report that was negatively impacting it.
I had never intended not to pay it, it was just an honest mistake that occurred when I moved from one location to another that must have gotten caught up in the mail system and never delivered to my door. However, this one little bill, which incidentally wasn’t even a hundred bucks, looked to them as though I was delinquent on at least one bill, and that dinged by credit score.
I had to pay the bill right away, and the billing agency that sent me the bill had to notify Equifax who was the vendor that my credit report was gained from I believe, and have them take it off my report so the landlord could push through my application to live in his apartment. This is just one example of how one small oversight, mishap or bill can make a huge difference in your credit score. And if you don’t know about it, how are you to rectify it?
That’s why I advocate going to one of the free credit report agencies as advertised on this page and at least getting your one free report so you can periodically check it and make sure everything’s fine. If nothing else, it gives you peace of mind, and it’s free, so what’s the harm? Now, as far as getting them more often, you may need to pay for that, but there are some programs that offer this service for a very reasonable monthly fee.