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Consumers urged to check their free credit reports for errors or fraud

MEDIA RELEASE
 
17 May 2016
 
CreditSmart Day on 18 May is the perfect day for Australians to get a copy of their free credit report and give themselves an annual credit report health check.
 
The Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) Head of Member Services & Consumer Affairs Rebecca Murray said it’s important that consumers stay on top of their credit report and regularly check it for errors or fraud.
 
“We should all check our credit reports at least once each year. No-one needs the stress of discovering they are the victim of scams, fraud or an error. But it’s an even bigger headache to have to fix a problem with your credit report when you are in the middle of applying for a loan or credit card,” Ms Murray said.
 
“An easy way for consumers to access their free credit reports is to visit CreditSmart.org.au. From the website, you can follow the links to request a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bodies”.
 
Ms Murray suggested that consumers mark CreditSmart Day in their diary as a reminder to order their free yearly credit report, or add a credit report check-up to their annual tax return process.
 
CreditSmart Day is a part of national Privacy Awareness Week (15 - 21 May 2016). The week is an initiative of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and is aimed at promoting awareness of privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal (including credit) information. This year’s Privacy Awareness Week theme is ‘Privacy in your Hands’.
 
Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim highlighted how credit reports are a great tool to protect personal identity and reputation.
 
“Your credit report has a wealth of important personal information”, said Mr Pilgrim. “It tells people about your credit reputation, which is an important part of your personal reputation – so checking the accuracy of your credit report each year is a sensible privacy step.”
 
“You might find there are mistakes on your credit report, or even fraudulent credit accounts that you are not responsible for – opening up your opportunity to correct these.”
 
“Taking privacy into your hands means using the tools available to monitor the integrity of your personal information – and your annual credit report is one of these important tools.”
 
For more information on consumer rights relating to credit reporting, visit the CreditSmart website at www.creditsmart.org.au.