One way to head off fraud during tax season is to get your free annual credit report now. Credit reports often have errors in them; this quick checkup can be the first indication that some form of identity theft has taken place on your account.
The good news is that each of the major consumer credit reporting agencies is required by law to provide you with a free report once a year. Here's contact information to help you get your free credit report:
Annual Credit Report.com
Via mail: (fill out the online form and mail it to the following address)
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Listed here are the three major credit agencies and how to contact them directly.
Web site: www.transunion.com
Via mail: 2 Baldwin Place
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Web site: www.equifax.com
Via mail: Equifax Credit Information Service
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Telephone: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Web site: www.experian.com
Via mail: P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
Reminder: Each agency may try to upsell you into additional paid services. If you find problems on your credit report, work through the credit bureau's process to correct the error. Also place fraud alerts on your credit agency account if you experience any kind of identity fraud.