What Do I Lose By Not Going To The “Certified” Annual Credit Report Site?

There is still 4 days 3 hours 15 mins and 52 seconds left to get entered for some great free stuff at Hanks Holiday Handout #2 giving away $200+ of prizes!

Have you ever noticed how many “get a free credit report” commercials are on tv anymore? How do you know which ones are legit and which ones are milking you? It really is ridiculous that there are so many of these bogus sites out there and there is only ONE true certified site out there, don’t be fooled…

The last time I got my credit score was when I bought my house, which was in Nov 06. At that time it was 721 and I have done nothing to have that changed in the last year and 1/2, so I assume it hasn’t dropped down from there, and likely has gone up.

I haven’t been to the website yet, because I keep thinking I “may” buy a new car at some time and don’t want to blow the free check now and risk not knowing it when I really am interested in the car. Again, the frugal bug biting me because it isn’t that expense or problematic to use MyFico or think that my score is any lower.

I don’t plan on buying a new car for a while, but I have been thinking my car may run out of juice soon; but that is yet to be determined also.

So the meat of the article, the authentic site you go to get your free credit report (with no strings attached) is www.annualcreditreport.com.

Well, who says that they are the “official” site of the free credit report realm?

Well that’d be the FTC:

“The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises consumers who order their free annual credit reports online to be sure to correctly spell annualcreditreport.com, or link to it from the FTC’s website to avoid being misdirected to other websites that offer supposedly free reports,but only with the purchase of other products. While consumers may be offered additional products or services while on the authorized website, they are not required to make a purchase to receive their free annual credit reports.”

Well what is the big beef with ordering it from the “other” sites that advertise on TV?

Well, the short story is that they may end up costing you money for products you neither need nor want. Some sites are even crafted up (there is a niche for everything) to actually be a fraud designed to steal your personal information. Stay away!

I’d like to say there is more security wrapped around this, but apparently it is like the Nigerian “send-me-5%-3.25-million-dollars-that-is-locked-due-to-security” scams that are out there. You really need to watch out for those.

The FTC tries to keep a database of the bad offenders but clearly, just like spam and taxes, keep cropping up everywhere. Also the World Privacy Forum keeps tabs on the database as well, but like I said, it grows fast, so keep an eye on it.

Long story fairly short, just use www.annualcreditreport.com when you’re curious where you’re cooking and save yourself a lot of hassle and possible fraud.

Photo by: RichT

Filed Under: adviceCreditCredit CardsDebtfinancial educationFrugal

  • There’s a site called Credit Karma which will give you a free estimated credit score. It’s a soft pull and based on TransUnion data. Jonathan of My Money Blog recommends them here http://tinyurl.com/2rzc22

  • It is definitely risky to provide personal information, that can be later used for identity theft, to bogus or unknown sites. Thanks for the reminder.

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  • SFNewYorker

    Hey, Hank. I notice that the so-called “free” credit report ads aren’t just on TV, they are on your website!
    [That’s okay, I know you have to do what you have to do.]

    I checked out Credit Karma [see Mrs. Micah’s comment] and they gave me a wonderful score. Hurray for me!
    Then I checked my [free] score at http://www.credit.com and their score was 82 points less than Karma’s. I tend to think that the credit.com score is more accurate, since it is similar to the official scores I have gotten in the past. http://www.credit.com also breaks your score down into the various parts that make up your score, so you can see what areas need improvement. I have used this site in the past with no apparent problems, so I hope it is not one of the scams you mentioned. I would be interested in hearing what others think of http://www.credit.com.

  • @SFNewYorker – Well that is kinda embarrassing; yea, Apparently those scam sites like Google too. Anyone know how to turn those off?

    As far as the credit.com site; I’ve not seen it myself. I spent about the last 10 mins looking for bad reviews on it, but can only see “referral” sites that are clearly praising the site to get a referral to it.

    Anyone else find/experience anything?

    @Vered – glad to help!

    @MrsMicah – I’ve check that site out before too; and I think I need to craft up a post on soft vs. hard credit pulls now to show the difference! 🙂

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  • Ivy

    I took one of those offers that came in my email. Looked impressive but it was just a scam although they looked very professional.
    .-= Ivy´s last blog ..My Experience With IvyBot Automated Forex System =-.

  • Kade steven

    Ended up with a lot of spam and harassment.

  • Yes, save yourself the spam. It’s not pleasant.
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