Finance

Oct 2 2016

Is a Scam? #travel #credit #card

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Is AnnualCreditReport.com a Scam?

One of the common topics in personal finance is the importance of checking your credit report for errors. Credit reports are notorious for having errors and the most common credit report errors include listing accounts that aren t yours, including personal information that is misleading or completely wrong, and attributing negative items, like accounts being in collections, to you. These are all detrimental to you on a number of levels and the only way you can fix this is by disputing it. The only way to find out if you have these errors is to review your credit report. Until the Fair Credit Reporting Act. you had to pay the bureaus to see your report (see how the bureaus had little incentive to get your information right?), but now you can get it for free once a year.

The site everyone talks about to get your reports for free is Annualcreditreport.com, but is the site legit? Could it be a scam?

Is Annualcreditreport.com A Scam?

In short, no, and I ll try to prove that it s not a scam. This is an important question because by using that site, you are giving it a lot of personal information that an identity thief would love to get. Let s see how we can find out more information about annualcreditreport.com.

Central Source LLC runs AnnualCreditReport.com. In the footer of the pages and in various privacy and security pages, the bottom of the page is copyright Central Source LLC. AnnualCreditReport.com is not a government run website. It s run by Central Source LLC. a company incorporated in Atlanta, GA and is a joint venture between the three credit bureaus Equifax Information Services, Experian Information Solutions, and TransUnion.

If you visit the AnnualCreditReport.com website, select a state and click through to start entering information. You should notice that your communications with them are now encrypted using SSL. There is a VeriSign Secured logo at the top right, clicking that shows that the SSL Certificate is valid, the registered company matches (Central Source LLC in Atlanta, GA).

FTC Directs Consumers to AnnualCreditReport.com

According to the Federal Trade Commission. AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY authorized source for the free annual credit report that s yours by law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every 12 months. The Federal Trade Commission has received complaints from consumers who thought they were ordering their free annual credit report, and yet couldn t get it without paying fees or buying other services. TV ads, email offers, or online search results may tout free credit reports, but there is only one authorized source for a truly free credit report. The website is again referenced on this form on the FTC website (and the form is copyright of Central Source LLC, the joint venture) and on this FTC Consumer Alert .

So we know that the website is not government run but run by a joint company owned by the big three credit bureaus. It is SSL encrypted so the data you transmit is reasonably secure. Finally, the FTC, in multiple instances, points consumers to the website to request free credit reports. While I would be more comfortable with a government run website, the reality is that the law orders credit bureaus to provide this information and this is how they chose to do it. We shouldn t be spending tax dollars coordinating this, the bureaus should be spending their money to provide it.

There is one gotcha when it comes to these free credit reports. After you enter your information and you are handed off to the individual bureaus, expect to be hammered with offers to buy credit scores and credit monitoring services. None are required to see your report but that doesn t mean they won t try to upsell you something!

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