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Have you checked your credit report lately? Here's why you should make it a habit

A recent study shows less people have been keeping an eye on their reports.

TEXAS, USA — When was the last time you checked your credit report?
The reality is people don't care to check until they're forced to care, like when they’re getting a credit card, buying a car, or taking out a mortgage.

A recent survey from Lending Tree found 33% of people checked their credit report this past year. That's down from the last two years.

If you haven't checked your credit report lately, here’s a reminder on why you should be doing it often: Your credit could take a toll from others' mistakes and you might stop identity theft early on.

Here's what you look for.

There are three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Each report is different, so check all three. Look for errors, accounts that don't belong to you, collections, defaults, late payments and account balances that may be incorrect.

Credit expert John Ulzheimer also suggests that you check for different variations of your name and addresses you've lived at. You want to know who's looking at your credit.

"You're going to want to look at the list of inquiries that are going to indicate or memorialize access into your credit report,” said Ulzheimer. “And if, you know, 'Hey, I've never applied for credit with City Bank,’ ‘Hey, I've never applied for credit with Capitol One,' you may have been a victim of credit fraud."

The bottom line is to make sure your information is accurate and that you haven’t been a victim of fraud. It’s free to check and it usually takes only five minutes.

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