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State attorney general urges residents to order free copies of their credit reports


March 02, 2005 - Missourians should take advantage of the upcoming opportunity to order free copies of their individual credit reports, Attorney General Jay Nixon says.

Beginning this week, a recent change in federal law requires the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies to provide residents of Missouri and 11 other Midwestern states with free copies of their credit reports upon request, once every 12 months.

"Reviewing your credit reports on a regular basis can help you spot not only inaccuracies that could hurt your credit rating, but also fraudulent attempts by identity thieves to steal your credit," Nixon stated in a news release.

A Web site, www.annualcreditreport.com, has been set up by the three credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — for consumers to order their credit reports. Consumers will need to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. For security purposes, the credit reporting companies also may ask consumers for information only the consumers would know.

Those who use the Web site should be able to access their information immediately. Consumers also may order the credit reports by calling toll-free (877) 322-8228; information requested that way will be mailed within 15 days.

Information in a credit report often in-cludes a person's address; a payment history of bills; and whether the person has been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. The information is used by employers, creditors, insurers and lending institutions to evaluate applications for credit, loans and jobs, among other things. Consumers may want to order their reports from each of the three companies because each report may contain different information not contained in the other reports.

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