A great way of monitoring your credit is through a document called a credit report. Ask your CSW to help you obtain a free copy of your credit report. You can also obtain a copy online at www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp#WesternStates.
If you’re 18 or over, your credit report lists all of the accounts that have ever been opened under your name and Social Security number. When you receive your credit report, check for unusual accounts or activity, unknown addresses, and unknown places of employment. These can all be clues that you are a victim of identity theft.
TIP: Because credit reporting agencies do not knowingly create credit files on minors, youth under the age of 18 should not even have a credit report on file. This means that, if you’re under 18, any system running a credit check shouldn’t be able to find a file at all! If you do have something on file, it might mean that you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
You are entitled to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). For example, you can request one credit report from Experian in April at www.experian.com, a second credit report from Equifax in August at www.equifax.com, and a third credit report from TransUnion in December at www.transunion.com. The benefit of doing this is that you can monitor your credit all year long and be notified of any fraudulent activity early on. Remember that you can get copies of your credit report for free. Beware of companies or people that want to charge you for copies of your credit report!