AnnualCreditReport.com is a website that provides consumers with free access to credit reports from the three largest credit bureaus in the United States, namely Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
After passing the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) in 2003, these three credit bureaus worked together to create AnnualCreditReport.com. The act affirms that U.S. citizens have the right to review credit reports from the major credit bureaus once a year free of charge.
Yes, AnnualCreditReport.com is legit. As a matter of fact, it is the only website that is authorized by U.S. federal law to provide free annual credit reports.
There is no doubt about this, AnnualCreditReport.com won’t hurt your credit score. For the fact that to review your own report would be considered a soft check (“soft inquiry”). There is a difference between a soft inquiry and a hard inquiry for the latter lenders run when you apply for new credit accounts. While hard inquiries may lower your credit score, soft inquiries won’t hurt it, they are invisible to potential lenders too. There is no harm in checking your credit reports as much as you want.
If you are landed on the right site, it is safe to use AnnualCreditReport.com, the website uses an encryption protocol (SSL) to protect your data. However, sometimes fraudsters might create what we call “impostor” sites that look like AnnualCreditReport.com, so when you do the check, make sure you're getting into the right site. You can always use web protection methods such as VPN to protect you from scams.
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As far as protocol encryption is concerned, the common encryption methods are 128-bit and 256-bit. They are of military level and are widely used by the U.S. government.
Normally, 128-bit encryption is already uncrackable from brute force, However, considering the scale of resources that the NSA seems to have thrown at cracking encryption, it is a better practice to upgrade cipher key lengths to 256-bit. Therefore, it would require twice as much computational power to break it compared with a 128-bit one.
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