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Free Credit Reports Coming Your Way in June

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Hi guys, This was in our newspaper. Thought you might find it interesting.

...The measure called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, is nicknamed the "FACT Act". It allows consumers to get one free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies once every 12 months.

Sounds pretty cut and dry huh? But the truth is, the majority of home buyers and other Americans won't be able to get their free credit reports for several more months.

QUESTION: How come some people can get a free credit report now, but most have to wait?

ANSWER: Primarily because operators of credit bureaus across the United States were worried that they'd be flooded with requests for free reports as soon as the new law took effect. To avoid problems, Congress allowed the bureaus to gradually phase the program in on a regional basis.

Right now, residents of Alaska, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and the seven other Western states are eligible for the free reports mandated by the law. Coloradans have long qualified for a free annual report under a separate state law.

Other states with similar laws guaranteeing residents free reports once a year include Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont. On March 1, the program spreads to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota and most other parts of the Midwest.

Residents of Florida, Louisiana and other Southern states qualify for free annual reports on June 1.

People living in New York, Pensylvania and the rest of the Northeast won't be eligible for a free report under the FACT Act until September.

Remember, though that a separate federal law passed yeard ago already allowed all consumers to get free copies of their reports if they are denied mortgages or other credit based on information on their reports.

Those consumers don't have to wait for FACT to take effect in theor own states, but must make their request for free reports within 60 days after their requests for credits is denied.

QUESTION: So how do I use the law to get a copy of my report?

ANSWER: The fastest and perhaps best way to get your free report is to order it over the Internet at www.annualcreditreport.com. The Web site is the only source authorized by the nation's three major credit bureaus - Experian, Transunion LLC and Equifax Inc.

As an alterative, you can order the report by calling toll-free at 1-877-322-8228, or mail your request to Annual Credit Report Request Services, P O Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

If you order your report over the Internet, you'll get it within hours. If you instead order it by phone or mail, expect to wait two or three weeks.

By David W. Myers

King Features Syndicate

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