Credit Scores are used by creditors to evaluate the credit worthiness of loan applicants. These scores are three digits that rise and fall based on payment history, repossessions, foreclosures, tax liens and bankruptcies. Attorney General Tom Miller offered advice on credit scores in the March 2014 Consumer Advisory issued through his office.

The Attorney General advises checking your credit report at least once a year. Consumers have the right to request a free credit report from each credit reporting company once a year; these include Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Negative information, such as late payments, can be reported for seven years, and bankruptcy up to ten years. Ways to improve your credit score include paying bills on time, don’t apply for too many credit accounts or cards and don’t max out your credit limits.

You can request a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You can also complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form, available at www.ftc.gov/credit, then mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.