BOSTON (CBS) – I would bet that getting a copy of your free credit report has been on your to-do list for several years now. You just haven’t gotten around to doing it.

Well instead of getting on Facebook tonight get copies of your credit reports. It does not take much time.

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Start by logging onto This central site allows you to request your credit report, once every 12 months from each of the large credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

A word of caution. There are many look alike websites out there. Use only

It is important to be checking your credit report and credit scores at least annually. Some credit cards are now including your credit scores each month on your monthly statement.

There are places on line that will give you a free credit score. Sites like Credit Karma, credit sesame, Wallet Hub all offer free credit scores and reports. But you must sign up for their services which are free. They make money when you use a product recommended on their site.

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I was impressed with the Discover card which offers a free Fico credit score to all that ask. You do not need to be a customer and they do not try to market anything to you.

I would suggest spreading out your credit reports, getting one every four months. Reviewing your credit report is your first line of defense against identity theft.

Are there any unauthorized cards or loans on your report? A credit card you don’t recognize? Different address than your home address? These may be an indication that someone else is using your social security number.

Potential employers, landlords, phone companies, lenders, utility companies and insurance companies are requesting a look at your report. So you want to be sure it’s up to date and correct.

If you find an error it is your responsibility to fix it. First try the online options to see if that resolves it, follow up with snail mail and lots of phone calls. A simple error can be very costly for you.

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One more thing: To do it by mail. Annual Credit Report Request, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281