How to get your credit report
Get a Credit Report!
Foster Youths are at HIGH risk of identity fraud!
A new law just passed that required every youth in foster care age 16 and older must have a credit report every year while in foster care! It started September 30, 2011
Click here for a copy of the entire law. The section on credit reports for foster youths is at the top of page 6 under "Case Plan and Case Review System."
Why get a credit report?
This is a great law because foster youths are at high risk of identity theft! While in foster care, any number of people who have access to your personal information (such as social security number and birthdate) can open accounts and run up debt or stop paying bills using your name without your knowledge.
This is a BIG problem when it is time for you to transition to the adult world. Businesses and companies will run a credit check on you before you rent an apartment, get cable, buy a car, open a cell phone account and things like that. If you have bad credit, they can deny you services or ask for a large deposit to cover the cost of the service in case you don't pay your bill.
What will a credit report tell me?
Each credit report (there are three agencies that provide credit reports) will give you a full report. The report will list times when your information was provided to open an account. This will include things like opening an store credit card, a cell phone account, student loan, and things like that. Be sure the information is correct. The new law says your social worker needs to help you understand what the report says and help you resolve any inconsistencies in the report. Resolve this before transitioning from foster care. This is your life so be sure to talk to your social worker about it, understand it, and get your report cleared up early.
How do I get a FREE credit report?
***This online process is only for ages 18 and older. Minors cannot receive credit reports online it must be done in writing. Agencies need to provide proof of guardianship to get a minor's credit report. (See addresses below)
- Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com
- Select State and click "Request Report"
- Fill out the form - including your Social Security number, date of birth, and so on...
- Click "Continue"
- You are then taken to a page that lists all three reporting agencies - click the check box for all three names
- You will be led through each agency
- You will be able to see, save, and/or print the reports
- You can only get a FREE credit report ONCE per year (or it will cost you) so figure out a good time to do this annually - like your birthday.
The reports will also tell you what to do to resolve any false or inconsistent information.
Credit Reports for Minors:
Requests for credit reports for minors must be done in writing. Be sure to include the name, address and social security number of the person for whom your requesting the report and proof of guardianship.
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.