With the growing number of people using credit cards these days as well as the credit companies keeping a record of credit transactions, the government had to find a way to protect its citizens from any annual credit report scam by implementing the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in September 2005. Sadly, even with the utmost efforts of the state, an annual credit report scam still occurs everyday to susceptible naive consumers.
How to Recognize an Annual Credit Report Scam
A lot of online sites that accommodate credit reports lately have been attracting a lot of consumers because of the convenient modes they’ve been promising but you have to be careful because most of these inviting websites are actually just annual credit report scam attempts.
As of this date, the government duly recognizes only three known consumer reporting agencies namely Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW), and Trans Union, which are authorized by the government to provide credit reports to consumers who request their respective credit reports. And aside from that there are also known legitimate websites that provide free credit reports such as the government mandated website Annual Credit Report, which is the central medium of the three consumer reporting agencies previously mentioned.
It’s Free! If You Pay, It’s an Annual Credit Report Scam.
People with credit cards, loan applications, and other credit transactions check their free credit report every twelve months, which in their hurry or probably plain carelessness; they just enter any sites that have the words free, credit, and report in it, not aware that they’ve become victims for an annual credit report scam.
There are two telltale signs to know whether one is an annual credit report scam or not. First telltale sign is when it initially charges you or makes you sign up for anything—yes, anything, in other words, when it asks you for payments. Bear in mind that by law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus. We do not pay for something that’s free and entitled to us.
The second telltale sign that indicates one as an annual credit report scam is when you receive e-mail messages asking you to sign up for a trial program. If they get you with the scam, you fill up something with information regarding your identity that those scammers can use for their greedy illegal activities. So whenever you receive doubtful messages, assess the content first and if you have no idea who sent it and why it was sent in the first place, then ignore and delete it right away. It’s just another annual credit report scam luring you.
Protect Yourself from Annual Credit Report Scam
There’s a large number of online sites that provide supposedly free credit reports but turn out that they’re still part of the an annual credit report scam. The government is actually already investigating some of these online sites for reports on annual credit report scam. Just to be on the safe side, stick to the reputable companies and sites that are recognized by the government. And if ever you do bump into a possible annual credit report scam, report the activity as soon as possible to your local authorities and to the Federal Trade Commission or you can also contact any of the three Consumer Reporting Agencies.