Nick's 2 Cents...Credit Reports

It's is a biography of sorts, laying out your financial life on's your credit report.

When Action News 5's Nick Paranjape got his credit report recently, he was surprised with what he found. There were loans and credit cards on his report that he paid off years ago, that he thought were closed. They still showed up on his credit report as open accounts.

Germantown financial consultant Jim Shoemaker told Action News 5 that as of September 2005, you are allowed to check your credit report for free once a year.

"Identity theft is a real thing so checking your credit report gives you a chance to know if it happened and how you may correct it immediately if you see that," Shoemaker said. "It is also good just to know where you stand and how to manage it"

Shoemaker said when you find discrepancies on your credit report, you need to take care of them quickly. "Clean it up. Immediately start calling the credit card companies," he said. "Get involved. Don't be passive with this."

A basic credit report can show many things, including a list of loans you've taken out, whether you've filed bankruptcy, whether you've been sued or arrested, and whether or not you've made late payments to creditors in the past.

To get a copy of your credit report, the Federal Trade Commission recommends calling 1-877-332-8228, or visit