You've probably heard about credit and credit scores. Your credit history is used by lenders, landlords, and some employers to make decisions about you.
Dealing with Credit
Why Should I Care?
- Lenders use your credit history to determine how much to lend you and how much it will cost you to borrow.
- Landlords use your credit history to determine whether to allow you to lease with them.
- Some employers use your credit history to draw conclusions about you.
What is a Credit Report?
Credit reporting agencies build a report about you based on information reported to them and then supply this information to companies that need to determine if you are a good or bad risk to lend money to.
A credit report contains tons of information about you including:
- Identification and employment info: Name (or AKAs), date of birth, spousal info, addresses where you have lived, social security number, employment history, estimated income.
- Payment history: Loans, credit cards, bank accounts, balances owed, income-to-debt ratio, failure to pay, late payments, referrals to collection agencies.
- Inquiries: Record of creditors that are checking your credit history.
- Public record information: Bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax liens.
How can I obtain my credit report?
You can obtain one free credit report per year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Forget the catchy TV jingles ... this is the only truly free site for your credit report. Don't be fooled by other websites!
While you are in foster care, Denver Human Services will request the report for you.
You can learn more about credit reports and scores and get assistance from the three credit reporting agencies:
If you are under age 18, you should not have a credit report -- minors cannot sign contracts or apply for credit on their own. If a credit report does exist it may be due to error, fraud, or identity theft.
Steps to Clear Errors and Fraud on Your Credit Report
- Contact the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
- Place an initial fraud alert.
- Consider a credit freeze.
- Call every company where an account was fraudulently opened or misused.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
- File a police report.
Keep details of your efforts and copies of everything.
Denver Human Services will complete this process for you while you are in foster care if they find errors/fraud on your credit report.