Use caution in securing 'free' credit report
When is free really not free? When it comes to getting your “free” credit report.
Plenty of TV, radio and Internet ads promise consumers a copy of their free credit report, but what they really want is to entice you into signing up for “credit monitoring” or other services. Those are decidedly not free, running anywhere from $15 to $30 a month or more on your credit card bill.
Sacramento, Calif., retiree Jim Fossum found out the hard way.
In May, he thought he was going online to ask for a free copy of his credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com — the official website for such requests. He got the report with no problem, but was startled when a $29.95 monthly charge popped up on his next credit card bill.
“I got sucked into something I didn't want,” said Fossum, 82, who isn't sure how he wound up on a different site, GoldenScoresLLC.com, which started charging him for monthly credit monitoring.
“I found out that if you did not send a letter (opting out) within 10 days, you were automatically subscribed.”
Fossum's experience is not uncommon. And that's despite federal regulations that require sites offering free credit reports to provide full disclosure about trial memberships and a link to the federally authorized AnnualCreditReport.com.
There's only one website that is federally authorized to provide consumers with free annual credit reports: AnnualCreditReport.com. By law, everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
You can order them all at once. Some credit experts recommend spacing them out over a year, ordering one from a different bureau every four months, in order to have a continuous snapshot of your credit history.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Toyota Mirai to run on hydrogen fuel cells, widen green-vehicle divide
- Highmark lays off nearly 100 workers, mostly in IT, as membership declines
- Severance tax on natural gas drilling backed by Pa. voters
- Mylan closes $5.3B tax-lowering deal with Abbott Labs
- Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
- Easier home loan rules worry some
- Shift in what powers the grid raises concerns about fuel diversity
- Wolf tax proposal puts Beaver County Shell plant at risk, gas group head says
- Oil, gas industry abstractors research public records to report on lease sites
- Colorado a handsome contender
- Pittsburgh Business Ethics Awards honors outstanding efforts