For my second night of HARD WEEKEND PARTYING, for no particular reason on this here balmy Saturday night I decided to get my free annual credit report from the big three credit agencies. WOOO!!! Seriously though, it was painless and I highly recommend you do it if you haven't done it lately. Doing this takes like 5 minutes, and while it doesn't give you your credit score, it does show you a list of your open and closed credit accounts according to the Big Three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) so you can make sure there aren't any accounts opened in your name that you didn't authorize. You can also see what companies have done a "soft credit check" on you so they can send you those annoying free "you've been pr-approved!" offers in the mail... these soft credit checks don't impact your credit score, but it's interesting to see who's been sniffing around.
So, to get your free annual credit reports from each of the big three go to AnnualCreditReport.com which sounds scammy, but it's the only site the government has approved). It is totally free, painless, and a good idea. (Some folks like to check all three agencies at once, once per year. Other folks like to pick one agency in January, another agency in May, and the final agency a few in Septemberish, just so you can keep a more constant eyeball throughout the year. I'm not that vigilant, so doing all three at once was just ducky for me.)
Also: Fortune Magazine told me that as of September 21st, a new law went into effect that says that the big three credit reporting agencies must offer you the ability to freeze your credit for free. Freezing your credit is a good idea, and it is painless. A credit freeze simply means that nobody can apply for credit under your name while the freeze is in place... not even you. So if/when you want to apply for a new credit card or get a loan or whatever, just jump back online and unfreeze your account, which takes two seconds. So clicky on the Fortune Magazine linky at the top of this paragraph here, and it'll take you right to the Free Freeze pages for the Big Three.