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Get Your Free Credit Report the Smart Way

The recent events at Target (NYSE: TGT  ) reminded every credit card and debit-card holder of the danger of identity theft. But how can you check your credit report to make sure you haven't been compromised?

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, talks about the best way to get the free credit report you're entitled to annually. Dan notes that even though many websites offer what they call "free" reports, they often come with charges if you don't cancel before a trial period ends. By contrast, the website at is the only one that's government-authorized, provided by the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax (NYSE: EFX  ) . Dan notes that it's essential to look for mistakes and follow the procedures to correct them. But he also points out that certain companies provide other credit information, such as Discover Financial's (NYSE: DFS  ) providing FICO scores from Fair Isaac (NYSE: FICO  ) on statements. Nevertheless, it's smart to check your full report to make sure it's accurate.

Good credit is your key to long-term financial success
Having good credit and regularly investing in the stock market are two essential components of financial success. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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