When was the last time you reviewed your credit report?

How often do you check your credit report? Perhaps the better question is, when was the last time you checked your credit report?

There are plenty of people online that will tell you what a credit bureau is and how to fix whatever may be ailing it. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to improving your credit score, nor is my intention to provide advice on how to do so.

Ignoring your credit report, however, is something different altogether. And like most things, choosing to simply bury your head in the sand doesn’t make it go away, nor is it a good idea.

Why is it important to check your credit bureau on a regular basis? Well, for starters, mistakes happen. No human or computer, as hard as we may try to make either one, is perfect. So, while every effort is made to ensure the information reported to bureaus is accurate, the hard truth is sometimes errors are made.

In the event that an inaccuracy has been reported, the best way to catch it is by regularly reviewing your credit bureaus.

Another good reason to check your credit report is, unfortunately, identity theft. Keeping an eye on what’s happening with the credit bureaus can give you an early warning if you have fallen victim. And catching any issues early can make it easier not only to put a stop to them, but also to take the necessary actions to get information corrected.

The term “regularly” means different things to different people. Some choose to do it more frequently, while others do a review on an annual basis by taking advantage of the once-a-year free credit report which everyone is entitled.

Of course, checking up on your personal information more often likely comes with a fee, depending upon the method you choose. It’s up to you to determine how you want to proceed and which method works best for you.

Obtaining your free annual report is easy. The first time I did it, I thought it was going to take me hours of trying to figuring out how to maneuver each of the bureau’s websites and enter information. I was pleasantly surprised that, within about 15 minutes, I had all three downloaded and ready to review.

It’s true. I promise.

If you have items that you wish to “clean up,” checking on a more frequent basis until those items are resolved may not be a bad idea. On the other hand, if you don’t see anything out of the ordinary, you may choose to wait until next year to check back.

The good news is you have options, and when you opt to exercise those options, you reduce the risk of surprises popping up when it’s time to make one of life’s major purchases, like a car, truck or SUV.

Has it been awhile since you’ve reviewed your bureaus? It’s never too late to start. Visit USA.gov for more information on obtaining a free annual report from all three bureaus, as well as information regarding what to do if you find any errors on your report and more.