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Online Scams: "Free" Credit Reports can Cost you Hundreds

Aug 17, 2007
A few years ago, the government passed a law allowing every citizen to receive a free annual credit report to track their credit history with the recent increase in identity theft. This report is easily available online and provides you with all three national credit reporting agencies' information on your credit history. Your score is not provided in this case.

Because of the popularity of this new law, many con artists and identity thieves have come out of the woodwork, creating free credit report web sites to scam people out of money as well as steal their identities - ironically, something the new law was supposed to help stop. There are over 100 free report web sites online at the moment; however, there is only one web site where you can get the real free credit report online: www.annualcreditreport.com.

These scammers often charge a "small fee" to receive what was supposed to be a free credit report. There are also fake web sites that record your personal information, by asking for your Social Security number or asking for credit card information, from which anyone can steal your identity or run up charges on your card and ruin your credit.

You can detect these scam web sites in several ways. Most of these scam web sites have a similar name to the official free credit report web site, but you can discern the difference because these web sites often have misspelled words, typos, or small grammatical errors, like a period being out of place. Also, as most of the web sites charge you a fee to get the report, remember that you are entitled annually to a FREE credit report. Even if they ask you for your credit card information and state that they will not charge you a fee - this should be suspect. If you get an e-mail or solicitation, be sure to read the fine print carefully before responding. Some have found that certain web sites or solicitations do offer a free credit report, but you have to enter your credit card information, and by doing so, you authorize them to charge your card for credit monitoring services.

Remember, you can get your free credit report either online at the above-mentioned web site or by phone or mail. You can also contact any of the three national credit report agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and they can also point you in the right direction.
About the Author
Tom Ambrozewicz, mortgage and real estate broker since 1993, is one of the pioneers in using breakthrough audio technology on his web sites. You can read or you can listen to professional narrator reading to you. You can check all credit tips at Ask-How.info now.
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