A great place to start with credit questions is www.creditboards.com/forums
. I was amazed by how much I didn't know about my credit and credit reports!!
For your question about reports/scores, every year you can get a free credit report directly from each of the agencieswww.equifax.comwww.experian.comwww.transunion.com
Also, once you get your free credit report, you can use that report confirmation # to initiate credit disputes and reporting agency has to give you an updated report with the results of your dispute. Then you can use that new confirm # to dispute, get another free report...its a nice circle (especially when you get baddies deleted from your report!!)
To get your true credit score either purchase them directly from the agencies with your report or go to www.myfico.com
and purchase the 3 agency report/score. This link has myfico discounts (go to the last page to find the valid discount code). http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=30893
The other credit monitoring companies give updated credit reports, but "FAKO" scores, which can vary between 30-100 points from your FICO score. TrueCredit.com for example gives you a daily FAKO score and credit report, which is good for monitoring your credit activity and for inquiry *B (bumping inquiries from your credit report to help raise your score, one of the easiest ways to get a few free points after a credit app spree!)