Starting April 20th, 2020, all consumers can check their credit reports from Experian, Transunion, and Equifax weekly for free by accessing AnnualCreditReport.com. Previously before COVID-19, these reports were available once every 12 months. “We are making credit reports more accessible more often so people can better manage their finances and take necessary steps to protect their credit standing,” said CEOs Mark W. Begor, CEO Equifax; Brian Cassin, CEO Experian; and Chris Cartwright, CEO TransUnion in a joint statement.
There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to keep track of your credit reports, but it is especially important during a financial crisis and with an increase in phishing schemes related to COVID-19 and the recent stimulus package. These phishing schemes can allow scammers to get access to your personal information and open accounts without your acknowledgement. When you can check your credit report weekly, it makes it easier to spot red flags and mistakes on your credit report and open investigations to get errors corrected and set up fraud alerts.
If you have requested assistance through The CARES Act, such as a forbearance, delayed payment or payment arrangement with your creditor or loan servicer, they cannot report you as being delinquent and your credit score will not be impacted during the time period of your modified payment schedule. With checking your credit report regularly, you’ll be able to keep track of reporting to make sure you haven’t a victim of identity theft and haven’t been penalized for accepting COVID-19 assistance.