The free credit report scam

Every consumer in America is entitled to a free credit report once a year by law as of September 2005. But since this law was passed, there has been nothing but confusion.

Websites that claim to offer this so-called free credit report ask us to give them our credit card information. Does this sound like a free credit report to you?

You may have even given these companies your credit card number to sign up for a thirty day trial for a credit service that has almost nothing to do with getting your free credit report.

In all fairness, you can cancel this service after thirty days. But how many people do you think you forget and end up with monthly or even annual credit card fees?

In fact, these companies are counting on you to skip the 30-day trial and charge those fees to your credit card. But if the law says you get a free report, what’s the problem?

Many people are confused about these free credit reports because of the way some companies market the free credit report. Hopefully this information will enlighten you on some things.

For people who just want the bottom line, a free credit report is available at and it’s the only official site that helps consumers get their free annual credit report.

The security protocols of this site are excellent with physical and technological security and encryption. This is important for identity theft purposes because your credit file information should only be seen by your eyes.

So if this site is easily accessible and anyone can get a free credit report once a year, what’s the problem? Here’s the catch: The credit report you get on has no credit score.

Now you might be asking, “So what’s the point of getting this free credit report with no credit score?” There are a few good reasons why you might want to check your credit report even without a credit score.

Did you know that over forty percent of all credit reports contain errors? If you spot these errors, you can eliminate them before they affect your credit score. If you contact a credit bureau about an error, they must eliminate it or remove it after thirty days by law.

If you monitor and review your credit report, you can verify that you are not a victim of identity theft. If someone takes over your accounts and charges thousands of dollars in debt, they can destroy your credit score within hours.

These are just a few good reasons why you want to get your free credit report once a year and inspect it just to make sure everything looks as it should. You can get your free credit report online at or by phone or mail.

So where do you get your credit score from? This is where the confusion comes in and here is the answer. The law passed by Congress said nothing about a credit score, just one free credit report per year per consumer.

You have to pay for a service to get your credit score and some companies confuse people with how they market this. They give you a free credit report and score and many consumers think it’s their free annual credit report.

But if you have to sign up for a credit service they offer for a 30-day trial period, does that sound free? What these companies rely on is that you forget about the 30-day trial and charge a fee to your credit card after that trial period ends.

It’s in the fine print, but how many people actually read it. So here is a rule of common sense. Whenever you need to provide your credit card information, ask yourself, “Is it really free?” “

Many of you are probably aware that this is happening because you have been tricked into this kind of marketing tactic. But for those of you who just want your free annual credit report, you can at least know what’s really going on and have an easy way to get it.

Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved.

Previous Alternatives to payday loans | The Motley Fool
Next What is a credit report