As of Dec. 1, 2004, Hawai‘i became one of several states
in which residents are able to obtain free credit reports from
three major credit bureaus. Ordering credit reports was normally
a service that credit bureaus charge for, but thanks to a 2003
federal law this service is free to all Hawai‘i consumers.
Why is it so important that consumers can easily access their
credit reports? Your credit report ultimately shows how financially
sound you are. This is important if you plan to apply for a credit
card or need to borrow money from a bank for a house, a car,
or anything requiring more money than you have saved.
The government got involved because of the growing incidence
of identity theft in today’s society where many transactions
are done electronically. Nothing can ruin your credit rating
faster than someone pretending to be you, purchasing items for
themselves, and charging them to your name and account.
How this program works is that every person is allowed one
credit report per year from each of the three major credit
You could opt to get all three reports at one time, which
some believe gives you a complete profile of your credit,
could stagger your reports (getting one report every four
months). Warren Imada, an LCC business instructor recommends
he said, it narrows down the time frame if unusual activity
occurring and aids in catching identity thieves before they
can do too much damage.
The credit report contains the credit history of all the
accounts you have ever opened. Whether you get all three
at once or
one every few months, your job is to inspect the entire
there any accounts listed as open under your name that
opened? Are there any mortgage loans open under your name, but
you didn’t take out a loan? Have you bought a new Porsche
that you didn’t know about? In general, you are looking
for any suspicious activity in your report, something you don’t
remember signing up for. These are problems that should be reported
to the bureau immediately.
There are several ways to obtain your credit report. The
quickest way is through the Web site set up by the Federal
www.annualcredit-report.com. Another way is to call toll-
free (877) 322-8228, or write: Annual Credit Report Request
P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
The information needed to generate your report is: your
name, address, social security number and birth date.
bureau may also ask for additional information regarding
For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/credit .