Budgeting, Credit Repair and Identity Theft

What is a Credit Report?


A credit report contains information about your credit history and the status of your credit accounts. This information includes how often you make your payments on time, how much credit you have, how much credit you have available, how much credit you are using, and whether a debt collector is collecting on any debt you owe. Credit reports also can contain public records such as liens, judgments, and bankruptcies that provide insight into your financial status and obligations.

Lenders use these reports to help them decide if they will loan you money, what interest rates they will offer you, or to check the status of an existing loan. Companies can purchase these consumer credit reports to help inform them while making a wide range of business decisions such as providing or pricing insurance; renting you an apartment; and (if you agree to let them look at your consumer report) making employment decisions about you. Credit reporting companies (also known as credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies) compile these reports.


How do I get a copy of my Credit Report?


Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free copy of your credit report, technically known as a “file disclosure” from the nationwide credit reporting companies. You can receive a free credit report once every 12 months:

  • By phone: Call 877-322-8228
  • Online: Go to annualcreditreport.com
  • By mail: Download and complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

No matter which method you choose, you have the option to request reports from the nationwide credit reporting companies at once or one report at a time. By requesting the reports at the same time, you can determine whether any of your files have errors. By requesting the reports separately, you can monitor your credit file more frequently throughout the year. Your free credit report does not include a credit score. You are also eligible for free reports from nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies.

Be aware that there are many websites that claim to offer free credit reports. A number of these sites will only give you a free report if you buy other products or services. Still others give you a free report and then bill you for services you have to cancel. To get the free credit report authorized by law, go to annualcreditreport.com, and nowhere else.


Budget and Credit Repair


Go to http://www.justice.gov for an approved list of credit counseling agencies


American Consumer Credit Counseling


179 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA 01604
(508) 316-2195 or 800-769-3571
Services: personal and financial counseling, debt management and budget training

Money Management International (MMI)
340 Main Street, #813, Worcester, MA 01608
(866) 226-0278

Services: Personal and financial counseling, repayment programs, debt management and housing advising services

Neighborworks Homeownership Center
138 Green Street, Suite 4, Worcester, MA 01604
(508) 791-2170 x226
Services: Budget and credit counseling

RCAP Solutions
12 East Worcester Street, Worcester, MA 01604

Services: Budget and credit counseling

The Major Credit Bureaus:



1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)


Identity Theft


Identity theft is the stealing of someone’s personal information and using it to commit fraud or theft.

If you’re a victim of identity theft or think you may be:

–    Contact the fraud departments of each of the 3 major credit bureaus

–    Contact the security or fraud departments at each of your creditors, and follow up with a   letter

–    File a report with the police reporting the theft/fraud

For Help with Identity Theft:

The Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline
Or visit http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft

BAR None – Credit Reports and Identity Theft.
Visit http://www.dismasisfamily.org/programs/bar-none/ for more information.

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

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