Is Using Safe?

What you should know before you check your credit

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Checking your credit report regularly can help you spot errors and detect potentially fraudulent activity. Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—once every 12 months. 


You can get one free credit report per week from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian through December 2023 at

The three bureaus sponsor a website called for just that purpose. But is it safe to use? Impersonators used the site to obtain the reports of some celebrities in 2013, and there are several scam sites trying to imitate Here’s what you should know before you access your reports. 

Is Safe?

To understand the precautions takes, it’s important to have an overview of how the site works. First, you must provide your Social Security number. You’ll also need to give your first and last name, your current address, and, if you’ve lived there for less than two years, your previous address.

Once you enter that information, the site asks you which credit report you’d like to request. You can select one, two, or all three. Perhaps you may want to space out your requests so you are checking on one report every few months.

After making your selection, takes additional steps to verify your identity. You’ll be asked to review your details to make sure they’re correct. Then you’ll be asked to answer three security questions, which will vary, depending on your situation. For instance, you may be asked what year you took out a car loan, the balance on your mortgage—a dollar range—or to choose a city you’ve previously lived in from a list. If you answer those questions successfully, you’ll be able to view your credit report(s).


Your credit reports won’t include your credit scores. Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax can provide those separately, but there are sometimes fees. You can get scores for free from sites such as or Many major credit card companies also include free scores monthly as a perk. says your information is encrypted while you are filling out the form and when it sends your details to the three bureaus. According to the site, there are “physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards” in place to ensure security, including internal and external firewalls. 

Still, there is a disclaimer that “no data transmission or storage can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.” The company didn’t respond to a request for more information about the site’s security features.


In 2017, a major data breach at Equifax affected the personal information of roughly 147 million people. The company has agreed to a global settlement that includes up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. 

Can Be Hacked? 

While takes steps to keep its site secure, hypothetically, your credit report could be accessed if an impersonator had enough of your personal information. That’s what happened in an incident in 2013. Perpetrators were able to illegally access the credit reports of some celebrities “using considerable amounts” of personal details gathered from other sources, according to TransUnion. “As we confirmed at the time, neither nor TransUnion was hacked,” said David Blumberg, a TransUnion spokesperson.

Keep in mind that even if someone were to obtain your Social Security number, address history, and date of birth, they also would have to answer the identity-verification questions successfully. If they don’t know who holds your mortgage or the balances on your student loans, for instance, they’d hit a roadblock.   

How to Spot Credit Report Scams is the only site sanctioned by the federal government, and there are a number of lookalike websites that the Federal Trade Commission calls impostors. Some include terms like “free report” in their names; others purposely misspell so the URL is nearly the same. 

These sites may attempt to collect your personal information or direct you to other sites that want to sell you something. Or they may try to get you to sign up for a seemingly free credit report for which you’ll later be charged.

Use caution if you’re asked to enter your credit card or bank account number, as that could be used to bill you at the end of a free trial. Check the site’s security certificate, and be wary of sites with “HTTP” rather than “HTTPS” in the address. “HTTP” means the site is less secure.

Make sure to steer clear of sites that contain spelling or grammar errors, and be wary of phone calls or emails from senders claiming to represent or one of the three major credit bureaus. Those companies won’t contact you, so anyone claiming to be with them is likely a scam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I view past reports on

Every credit report will include historical information, so you don't need to compare new credit reports to past ones. If you lose a credit report, you may have to request a new one.

Which reports should I request from

While you're on the site, you might as well request all of your credit reports to get the most comprehensive view of your credit profile. You can also spot and correct any discrepancies among the reports.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. PR Newswire. "Equifax, Experian and TransUnion Extend Free Weekly Credit Reports in the U.S. Through 2023."

  2. Federal Trade Commission. "Equifax Data Breach Settlement."

  3. TransUnion. "Form 10-K - 2013," Page 17.

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