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There are many different scenarios under which you can receive a free credit report. Recently enacted federal legislation entitles each U.S. consumer to receive one free copy of his or her annual credit report from each of the big three credit bureaus. There is more information available about this at www.annualcreditreport.com. The other way you to get free credit reports is if you have recently been denied credit by a potential creditor. If the decision to deny credit was based in full or part on information from a credit bureau, the lender is legally obligated to notify you in writing of the name of the credit bureau used and give you instructions on how to obtain a free credit report from that bureau. It used to be that you had to submit your request to the credit bureau in writing. However, most now offer the ability to make an online credit report request for those who have been denied credit. You may also be entitled to free reports if you live in certain states, are an identity theft victim or are receiving public assistance. The report will be mailed to you, but it may take a few weeks to receive.