Many companies, usually credit monitoring services, offer you a free credit report if you sign up. However, under the Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, consumers are entitled to obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
You can request your annual credit report online at AnnualCreditReport.com , by phone (877-322-8228), or through the mail (see website above for address). Phone and mail requests take up to 15 days to process. Online requests provide results to users only after passing a rigorous identity test. For example, the test asks multiple choice questions such as "You opened a mortgage account in February 2002 with which of the following banks?" and "Which of the following streets have you lived on within the past 10 years?". The test is not easy and occasionally the correct answer is the always included "none of the above" option. However, once passed, you will have instant access to view and print your credit report and identify any problems or mistakes contained in it. (For a nominal fee about $5 the report will also provide your current credit rating or score.)