(KXNET) — The three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — have permanently extended a program that lets you check your credit report at each of the agencies once a week for free.

By law, everyone is entitled to one free credit report every twelve months from each of the three credit reporting agencies. In 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the finances of millions of people, the three agencies announced they would temporarily make free reports available every week. The program was extended twice and is now permanent.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request free copies of your credit reports.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers that the reports are free to you to download — other sites may charge you to retrieve the reports or there may be fake sites offering to help you get your credit reports but, in reality, are looking to steal your personal information.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website authorized by federal law and it allows you to download your credit reports for free.

Why check your credit report? The Federal Trade Commission says your report shows things like how many credit cards and loans you have, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether any debts have been turned over to collections. Creditors, insurers, some employers, and other businesses use it to decide if they want to do business with you — and the terms they’ll offer you.

Mistakes, like accounts or bankruptcies that aren’t yours, can hurt your credit, increase how much you’ll have to pay to borrow money, and even derail your chances of getting a loan, insurance, a rental home, or a job.

Mistakes can result from errors by businesses that report credit information to credit reporting agencies.

They also can be a sign of identity theft. The sooner you spot a mistake, the sooner you can dispute the error or — if it results from identity theft — report it at IdentityTheft.gov.

To learn more about why your credit matters, read Understanding Your Credit.