Check Your Credit
CHECK YOUR CREDIT ANNUALLY - IT'S FREE
IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION: A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Although your free credit report will not contain your FICA score (that would have to be purchased from the reporting credit bureaus), it will allow you to monitor and periodically review your credit information -- a major tool in preventing identity theft.
The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up one central website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, click on www.annualcreditreport.com, call 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You may also print a copy of the form at www.ftc.gov/credit. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are only providing free annual credit reports through www.annualcreditreport.com, 877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Caution: Do not fall victim to identity theft scams that come in the form of e-mails soliciting your personal information under the guise of a free credit check. The website above is the only official site recognized by the FTC.
If you know you are going to need financial aid, it is important that you straighten out your finances and eliminate your consumer debts before you come to medical school. In addition to the fact that no financial aid can be provided to cover prior debts, eligibility for many non-subsidized alternative student loans requires that you be credit worthy. A nonexistent credit history will not adversely affect an application; a negative history often results in loan denial. Now is a good time to review your credit record. Errors in credit reports are common. If your credit report contains errors, you will need to have them corrected.
Your credit profile report is used by lenders to determine whether or not to issue you credit. It will include such information as your name, current and previous addresses, social security number, year of birth, current and previous employers and, if applicable, your spouse's name. It will list credit accounts you have with banks, retailers, credit card issuers and other lenders and show the date opened, credit limit, and repayment history for each. It can include court records related to bankruptcies, tax liens or monetary judgments and list names of all credit grantors or potential employers who have obtained a copy of your credit report for any reason.
For more information about credit bureaus or resolving credit issues, contact: Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580 (202) 326-2222 http://www.ftc.gov/.