It is a good idea to get a free credit score report once a year to check that the information about your financial history is accurate and to protect yourself from identity theft. You need to obtain the report from a trusted source because bogus free credit report offers abound on the Internet. Here are some types of credit report offers to avoid and the trusted resource you should use instead.
Do Not Respond to E-mails Offering Free Credit Reports
Scammers regularly send e-mails promising recipients a free credit score report. They are trying to collect personal information and trick people into buying things from them. Do not respond to these e-mails or click on any links they contain. The authorized credit report website does not e-mail consumers, as the FTC notes. You can be sure that anyone soliciting information from you in this way is not trustworthy.
Avoid Websites That Ask for Credit Card Information
The authorized credit report website never asks consumers to provide a credit card number. You should not request a report from any source that collects payment information before it provides reports. Such sites claim that their credit reports are free, but in reality, they begin charging consumers for subscription services soon after consumers accept their initial offer.
Do Not Agree to Request Your Credit Score in an Application
If you are told to request a free credit report as part of an application for a job or an apartment, this is a scam, as noted by CNN. These fake listings direct people to the paid subscription websites mentioned above, and the scammer earns rewards from the websites for giving them traffic. Ads like this do not direct people to reliable sources for credit reports, and the jobs or apartments they claim to offer do not actually exist. An employer or landlord who wants to check your credit history will request the report himself and will not ask you to sign up at a credit reporting website.
Request a Report From Annualcreditreport.com
The only recommended source for a free credit score report is Annualcreditreport.com. This is the one source the government authorizes to issue the annual free credit reports that must be made available to consumers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Be careful to type the exact address into your browser because there are scam sites that use similar Web addresses. The site will instruct you to fill out a form with your name, date of birth, address, and social security number. Then you will be able to request reports from one or more of the three major credit reporting companies.
Image source: Flickr
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY