Where can I find my previous addresses?

Man working at his computer, looking up how to find his previous address historyImage: Man working at his computer, looking up how to find his previous address history

In a Nutshell

Finding your previous address history may require some detective work. You’ll likely need to draw on multiple sources to get a complete history, especially if you need addresses from a decade ago or longer.
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When you apply for credit, a job or an apartment, you may need to provide your previous address history.

Unless you’ve kept your own meticulous records, you may need to gather your address history from multiple sources, including your credit reports and tax documents. Here are some resources for finding previous addresses.

How can I find my previous address history?

It’s unlikely you’ll find your full address history, from childhood to your current address, from any single source. Here are some of the places you can look to find your past addresses.

Check your credit reports

You may be able to pull some past addresses from your credit reports. But keep in mind that it’s possible no single credit report will list all of your previous addresses.

Credit reports generally contain addresses you’ve used for mail or that have been listed on a credit account with your name on it. But some info may be missing because not all creditors report activity to the three major consumer credit bureaus.

Finally, keep in mind that minors generally don’t have credit histories unless they’re authorized users on their parents’ credit accounts or they’ve been the victim of identity theft. So unless one of those circumstances applies to you, your credit reports probably won’t have your childhood addresses listed.

Pull your tax records

If you’ve kept your past tax returns (the IRS recommends keeping them for at least three years), you can check them for past addresses. If you haven’t kept records, you can contact the IRS to request copies of your tax returns for the past six years. It will cost you $57 per copy.

You may also request free tax transcripts from the IRS, but the free version may not be very helpful. The IRS redacts transcripts to increase taxpayer privacy. That means you’ll only see the first six characters (including spaces) of your former street addresses. If you’re great at puzzles, those hints may be all you need to recall your previous addresses. Otherwise, it may be a worthwhile investment to pay the $57.

Search your public records

You may be able to find past address information in various public records. For example, your state department of motor vehicles may be able to provide you with an address history. You might have to pay a fee to access some public records, though.

Some online services also offer public-records searches that may uncover past addresses. Take caution with these companies: Research the service before you use it to ensure you understand its privacy policy and how much a report will cost. These services often use public records, and you’re better off searching for those yourself rather than potentially compromising private information to untrustworthy third-party sources.

Search your online accounts

You may be able to find old addresses in certain online accounts, such as financial accounts (like investment accounts), banks or retailers such as Amazon.

What are my previous addresses used for?

As we mentioned earlier, your previous addresses can be used in a variety of ways. Primarily, lenders, employers and prospective landlords may want to match them to some of your other records when making key financial, hiring and rental decisions.

Credit and lending decisions

While addresses don’t affect your credit scores, lenders may use past address information to verify certain credit information like your past housing payment history.

Job offers and employment verification

Potential employers may use past addresses to help with running a background check.

My previous address history is incorrect. How can I fix it?

If one or more of your credit reports contains an incorrect address, you can contact the credit bureaus to dispute the information. You can also contact the creditor directly and ask it to correct the address and report the updated information to the credit bureaus.

Next steps: Protect yourself from identity theft

Incorrect or unfamiliar information on your credit report could be a sign of identity theft. Monitoring your credit and regularly reviewing your credit reports could help you spot potential identity theft signals, such as a new credit account you didn’t apply for or a new address you don’t recognize.

The faster you act when you flag suspected identity theft, the more likely you are to minimize the financial impact of fraud. Here are six steps to take if you’re a victim of identity theft.

About the author: With nearly 30 years of experience in media, marketing, public relations and journalism, Evelyn’s written about nearly everything — from newspaper accounts of salacious capital murder trials to whitepapers on what typ… Read more.