Annual Credit Report vs. FreeAnnualCreditReport.com: The Difference Revealed


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You may have heard once or twice while growing up that we share the planet with people who are keenly interested in separating you from your money, car, personal information, identity, and other possessions. That's true when you're shopping, traveling, walking down the street and other scenarios. It's also definitely true when looking for a free credit report online. The rising popularity and functionality of the Internet has made it easier than ever for thieves to separate you from your savings and compromise your credit.

Many people make the mistake of confusing AnnualCreditReport.com, the official Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, with FreeAnnualCreditReport.com, the official website of a company not affiliated with the federal government. Because there are so many people interested in their free credit reports and credit scores, there are thousands of websites out there with very similar addresses. Most of these sites have less-than-honorable intentions, so be advised, aware, and very careful about which sites you visit to obtain a free credit report.

Looking for a Free Credit Report? Let the Surfer Beware

Most people who are ripped off in a free credit report fraud think that this always happens to someone else — until it happens to them. Your best defense against the unscrupulous credit report weasels is information and a healthy dose of skepticism. If you think that you’ve been victimized by a fraudulent credit-report website, do the following:

  • Contact law enforcement officials and the FTC as soon as possible to report the situation.

  • Contact TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, and place a security freeze on your credit files. You'll be given a personal identification number or password, and no lines of credit in your name will be approved without your consent.

You're entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com, but there are other legal, ethical, and practical ways to receive, monitor, and manage your credit information. Sites like this one can give you your free credit reports and provide a wide range of useful tools, alerts, and services that allow you to proactively manage and take charge of your credit safely and effectively.

 

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