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Consumer Watch: The credit information you have could be wrong

Credit scores and credit reports tell lenders how risky you are as a borrower (KOKH).

The way you are checking your credit score could mean you don't have the most correct information. Plus, consumers get a free credit report once every 12 months, but that doesn't mean you have to wait a full year to see how your credit is doing.

A credit score is a snapshot of how risky you are as a borrower. It is a score that can impact making major purchases, and even renting your own place. That's why it is important to know what credit agencies say you owe. That information comes in a credit report.

The three credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You are entitled to a free credit report from each, every year, through annualcreditreport.com.

“We would recommend spreading those out throughout the 12 months. for example, you would pull one in January, you would pull one in May, and then pull a different one in September,” says Jennifer Lown, chief marketing officer of the Oklahoma Employees Credit Union.

Lown says doing this will give you a look at what loans are out in your name throughout the year, and allow you to better protect yourself should you become the victim of identity theft, or if wrong information should somehow end up on your report.

Here is some often misunderstood information: a credit report is not the same as a credit score. Getting your credit report will not include the credit score number. Though there are many apps that will tell you your credit score, that number calculated in the app may not be exact.

“While it is a great way to keep your pulse on what is happening with your credit score don't be surprised when those numbers don't match exactly,” says Lown

If you’re looking for the exact number, you can ask for your credit score, if and when you apply for a new line of credit, whether or not you are approved. You can also request the number on its own through myfico.com, but that comes at a cost. The score and credit report bundle cost 30 dollars for all credit reporting agencies.

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