A new law was passed a few months ago where “free credit report” sites had to state that they really weren’t giving away free credit reports. Since there is a big difference between a scam and a misleading company, there are some things that you’re going to have to look into.
A scam vs. a misleading offer
A scam is when a company is going to take your personal information and run. You’re going to get nothing in return. A misleading offer really isn’t misleading if you read the fine print.
For example, freecreditreport.com had people believing that you could get a free credit report. While you had to enroll in their triple advantage package, people didn’t read the fine print. This is why it’s important to read the fine print for offers not only like this, but for others as well.
How to spot a scam
When applying for a credit report, I would recommend that you purchase them through the major credit unions. TransUnion, Equifax, Experian are all the three bureaus and they can give you your report directly. Yes, while there are many third parties that are legit, again, you’re going to want to be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Where can I get my “free” credit report?
The whole place that you get your free credit report once a year is via AnnualCreditReport.com. This is a website that was set up by the government where once a year, you can get a free credit report.
Other tips that you can use…
If you have questions, be sure to ask them via the phone.
- Never respond to an email offer that you don’t know about. It could be a phishing email to just gather your information.
- Follow your gut. If there are a lot of spelling errors and the site doesn’t seem professional, you may want to head elsewhere.
- Don’t give out sensitive data such as your bank account information. While a social security number is required, other things such as your bank number isn’t.
The FTC has a great fact page on how you can avoid a scam. As long as you use your head, you’re going to find that you can avoid a lot of scams online. Just be patient with your search and trust your instincts!
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