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On Your Side: 4 ways to improve your credit score

STATEWIDE (WGME) — During this National Consumer Protection Week, CBS 13 has been bringing you stories to empower you as a consumer.

Wednesday we checked with the Federal Trade Commission and Office of the Maine Attorney General for suggestions on how to build a better credit report.

Your credit report can be key to getting a mortgage, credit cards, even a cell phone or job.

Attorney General Janet Mills told us her first suggestion is to check your credit report at least once a year for any mistakes.

"When you check those things, if you see something a little out of line, call the entity that has put that out there and say, 'I want that corrected.' If it doesn't get corrected, write to the credit reporting agency and say, 'This is wrong, I dispute this. Then that dispute will be on the record," said Mills.

Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.

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The FTC says you can also build a better credit report by paying bills on time, don't apply for credit cards too frequently, and don't use all the credit made available to you.

A change to Maine law, effective October 2015, also offers another layer of protection by allowing consumers to get a free security freeze with each of the three credit bureaus.

[RELATED: I-Team: New security freeze law helps protect Mainers from identity theft]

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