Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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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.


10/7 '18 5 Comments
Very good call on both counts. I'm overdue for the first and I think the second is something I definitely should do.
Oooh! Thank you!
I did a credit report on myself earlier this year but it was nowhere near as thorough.
I had to freeze my credit with all three agencies back before it was made free. (Hmmm.... I should get a refund!!) I had a sudden onset of never-ending identity theft, where it became clear that all of the info necessary to pretend to be me is out there in cyberspace, and I quickly grew weary of playing wack-a-mole. It was so awful.
Anne Mollo 10/8 '18
Ugh, that sounds horribly awful. Once you froze it, did it fix it? Did you have to get a new SSN and everything?

I cannot understand how I haven't had my ID stolen yet. For a while there it seemed like I was getting a letter every two weeks from some company telling my how my data was stolen in their shitty breach.
I didn't get a new SSN; that seems like it would be truly a nightmare. And yes, once things were frozen, all that nonsense stopped. And having your credit frozen isn't a big deal, at least not at my age. I've already got my bank account, credit cards, mortgage, automobiles... all the stuff credit checks facilitate. And as you point out, you can always unfreeze/refreeze any time you need to.

And yeah! For a while it was one notification after another. "OOPS! WE SUCK!"
Anne Mollo 10/8 '18