Under US law every citizen has the right to get a copy of each of their three credit reports with all their financial information contained in it- every year. But, did you know of the other services that websites will try and sell you when you try and get your Free Government Credit Report? For example, freecreditreport.com is not the official website for your annual credit report.
They actually operate as a clever yet purposely confusing play on words to get consumers to sign up for their fee based program. While we must say that some of these services may be useful (credit score monitoring, id theft protection, etc…) but you must first understand how to get your truly free credit report before you try any of the fee based services.
Free Credit Report Gov Guide
There are three main credit bureaus of Experian, TransUnion and Equifax in the United States that document and provide your credit reports. These official credit reporting agencies provide all the data that any of the other resellers provide to consumers. There are thousands of websites and companies that also offer there credit reports to you – so that is how you get your credit report.
Identifying Fake Credit Report Scams
Did you know that Credit Report Identity theft is THE fastest growing form of criminal activity in America – that’s right, one out of every four homes will be victims of identity theft – you need to protect yourself and know what scams are out there. You need to be aware of the tactics that many of the credit report scams are out there have in common.
What to be aware of:
There are sites that claim that they offer Free Credit Reports, but these are not actually free – they will trick you into signing up for other services and you will have to pay a monthly fee until you contact them and get the debt to be taken off, by this stage you have already lost a lot of money, and you have to go thought a time consuming process of letters and contact to retrieve you money.
Lookout for Imposter Websites
“Imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names. Some others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. These “imposter” sites may direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.
Be on the lookout for Phishing
New high-tech scams are known as “phishing.” These web sites or unsolicited emails offer credit reports that may be using fake sites as a way to capture your personal information. They stealing your info, and then sell it to others who may use it to commit fraud including identity theft.
Protecting Your Data
- Don’t reply to or click on links in an email credit report offer. Instead just contact the company by phone. Or visit a Web site you know to be genuine.
- Make sure you check to see whether the company’s Web address will take you to the sender’s site or re-directs you to a different Web address.
- Be highly skeptical of credit report emails. Be cautious of email originating from a domain other than a .com. (some .net sites are ok)
- Make sure you check for misspellings and grammatical errors. View the company’s Web address to see if it’s for real . It might be a misspelled version of a legitimate company.
- Be sure to check whether the company has a valid phone number. Use Web sites such as http://www.anywho.com to verify phone numbers and addresses.