Every consumer in America has the right to a free credit report once every year by law as of September 2005. But since that law has passed there has been nothing but confusion.
The web sites that say they are offering this so called free credit report, are asking us to give them our credit card information. Does that sound like a free credit report to you?
You may have even given your credit card number to these companies to sign up for a thirty day trial for a credit service that has almost nothing to do with getting your free credit report.
In all fairness, you can cancel this service after thirty days. But how many people do you think forget and end up with monthly or even annual credit card charges?
In fact, these companies are counting on you forgetting about the thirty day trial and charging that fee on your credit card. But if the law says you get a free report, what's the deal?
A lot of people are confused about these free credit reports because of how some companies are marketing the free credit report. Hopefully, this information will clear a few things up for you.
For people who just want the bottom line, a free credit report is available at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com and this is the only official site that helps consumers to obtain their annual free credit report.
This site's security protocols are excellent with physical and technological security and encryption. That's important for identity theft purposes because the information on your credit report should be seen by your eyes only.
So if this site is readily available and anyone can get a free credit report once a year, what's the catch? Here is the catch: the credit report you get from http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com does not have any credit scores.
Now you may be asking, "Then what good is getting this free credit report without a credit score?" There are a few good reasons why you may want to look at your credit report even without a credit score.
Did you know that more than forty percent of all credit reports have errors? If you spot these errors, you can get them cleared up before it affects your credit score. If you contact a credit bureau about an error, they have to clear it up or remove it after thirty days by law.
If you monitor and review your credit report, you can check to be sure that you are not a victim of identity theft. If someone takes over your accounts and charges up thousands of dollars in debt, they can destroy your credit score in a matter of hours.
These are just a couple of good reasons why you want to get your free credit report once a year and inspect it just to be sure everything looks like it should. You can get your free credit report online at http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by phone or through the mail.
So where do you get your credit score from? This is where the confusion comes in and here is the answer. The law Congress passed did not say anything about a credit score just one free credit report a year per consumer.
You have to pay a service to get your credit score and some companies are confusing people with the way they are marketing this. They offer you a free credit report and score and many consumers believe it's their annual free credit report.
But if you have to sign up for a credit service they offer for a 30 day trial period, does that sound free? What these companies are counting on is you forgetting about the 30 day trial and charging a fee on your credit card once that trial period is over.
It's in the fine print, but how many people actually read that. So here is a good common sense rule of thumb. Any time you have to give your credit card information, ask yourself, "is this really free?"
Many of you probably know this is happening because you have been trapped with this kind of marketing tactic. But for those of you that just want your annual free credit report, you can at least be aware as to what is really going on and have a no nonsense way to get it.
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