In 2003, Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). One of the most important effects of this legislation is that consumers are allowed to receive free credit reports from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). While New Jersey was one of six states which already allowed one free credit report a year, FACTA still has an effect on our state. FACTA also allows the requests to be contained in one document. Consumers had been forced to make an individual request for a report from each agency.
Under FACTA, New Jersey residents are eligible to get their credit reports as of September 1, 2005. Residents with Internet access can obtain the reports by going to AnnualCreditReport.com, sponsored by the credit reporting agencies.
While credit reports may be requested from the Web site, it is still beneficial for people to request their reports in writing. The form to receive all three credit reports is the Annual Credit Report Request Form (link from the Federal Trade Commission). All you need to do is complete the form and mail it to the address listed on the form. Note that the form requests that consumers enclose the form in a #10 envelope. Make sure to follow these instructions so your reports are not delayed.
If there are questionable items on a report, you should write a letter to the reporting agency. Other useful Web sites include:
This article appeared in the November 2005 edition of Looking Out for Your Legal Rights®.
This information last reviewed 10/25/11.