Thursday, August 18, 2005

This has nothing to do with education, but everything to do with educators. All US residents are entitled to a FREE credit report from the three major credit bureaus at (not to be confused with the commercial site

When I mentioned in a Spring workshop on Viruses, Spyware & Spoofs, probably 90% of the teachers in the room had no idea what I was talking about. They grabbed their pens and wrote the URL down like it was going to be on a final exam!

Since everyone is concerned about identity theft, it is extremely important to check one's credit reports for accuracy. When I checked mine, I discovered I was mistakenly listed as having several joint credit card accounts with someone in Texas whose name was not even close to my own! Fortunately for me this was not identity theft, nor did it affect my credit rating since the folks in Texas paid their (our?) credit cards on time and were not over their limits. With one toll free phone call to the credit bureau my file was cleaned up and I received an updated, corrected credit report by mail. WHEW!

It takes about 15 minutes to jump through all the hoops and print your credit reports from all three bureaus. You'll need to confirm your identity by answering some multiple choice questions about your mortgage and other loans you've recently taken out so you may want to have the necessary paperwork handy if you haven't committed this info to memory.

Helpful hint: instead of immediately printing your credit reports on paper, print it to a PDF and save it on your computer. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat you can download the free PrimoPDF software I raved about in a previous post.

This program was rolled out in geographic stages so as not to overwhelm the system. Western, Midwestern and Southern states may request their free credit reports immediately. Residents of Eastern states must wait until September 1.

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