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Free Credit Reports  


Iowa consumers are among 12 midwestern states eligible March 1, 2005 to obtain a free annual credit report under the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Amendments to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) require each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRA) to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report at the consumer's request, once every 12 months. The three largest credit repositories, Transunion, Experian, and Equifax, have developed a centralized single contact system that consumers can use to order a report from one, two, or all three bureaus. The reports may be ordered three different ways:

1) Online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Consumers using the online method are asked to enter basic information including name, current address, previous address (if at current address less than two years), date of birth and social security number. They then have the opportunity to order reports from one, two or all three of the credit reporting agencies. If a consumer chooses to order a report from each of the CRAs, each report is ordered separately. The consumer is asked a series of questions relating to previous employment, residence, installment or open credit accounts to verify identity before the report is furnished. Consumers are also given the opportunity to order their credit score. While the reports are free to consumers, the CRAs are allowed to charge a nominal fee for the credit score. Reports are then delivered online and consumers can access the reports for 30 days following date of order.

2) Via phone at 1-877-322-8228. Consumers will go through a simple verification process over the phone and reports are mailed directly to the consumer.

3) By mail. Consumers fill out the request form located at
https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf and mailing it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 15281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Requests are processed within 15 days and mailed back to the consumer. Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader must be installed to view and print the PDF.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, has prepared a brochure, Your Access To Free Credit Reports, explaining consumer rights and how to order a free annual credit report which is also available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ycr free reports.htm.