“F-R-E-E that spells FREE, credit report dot com, bay-bee!”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that jingle a bazillion times. FreeCreditReport.com — sounds great, right? Just sign up and get a free credit report as well as a free credit score. But is it really free? Or is it some sort of scam? They’ve gotten some bad press in recent years, so I decided to investigate.
While I dig deeper below, here’s the executive summary:
In my humble opinion, FreeCreditReport.com isn’t a scam. They tell you up front exactly what you’re getting into, and they honor their end of the bargain. You’re signing up for a free trial of their credit monitoring service, which comes with free access to your Experian credit report and credit score. If you don’t cancel before the trial expires, they’ll charge you. But if you do call them and cancel, you won’t be charged anything.
What does FreeCreditReport.com provide?
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive at FreeCreditReport.com is the big, yellow button promising you free access to your credit report and your credit score (pictured below). As just about everyone knows, the free credit report itself isn’t that big of a deal. After all, you can get free access to all three of your credit reports by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
But what about your credit score? Free credit scores are a bit harder to come by, though there are a number of promos out there floating around — e.g., the FreeCreditReport.com offer talked about here, as well as the free trial of myFICO ScoreWatch that I wrote about awhile back.
FreeCreditReport.com — What’s the catch?
As always, it’s important to read the fine print. If you look over to the left side of the FreeCreditReport.com homepage, you’ll see a box labeled “Important Information.” Here’s the scoop:
“When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.”
They go on to specify that they are not affiliated with the federally mandated free credit report program (linked above). The footnote indicates that you actually have nine days during which you can cancel your trial membership since it can take up to 48 hours for the credit monitoring to begin.
Signing up for the free trial
I’m as curious as the next guy when it comes to things like this, so I decided to sign up and give it a whirl. The signup process is actually very easy. Simply visit FreeCreditReport.com, click the yellow signup button, and go through their two-step signup process.
Step 1 (below) just asks for your name and address.
Step 2 (below) asks you to create a username and password, provide your personally identifying information (social security number, date of birth, and credit card information. Your card is not charged unless you decide to keep the service beyond the trial period.
After that, they ask two quick security questions derived from information on my credit report, and then you’re in. While they offer to upsell you at various points along the way, you can simply click “No Thanks” and keep going.
Accessing your free credit report and credit score
Once you’ve gained access, you free to view your Experian credit report and credit score. You can either view your report online or download a printable version. They also provide a link to a “Credit Report Guide, ” which explains the types of information contained in each section of your credit report, and they have a link for disputing errors from directly within the site.
So… What did I learn from all of this? Well, for starters, there aren’t really any errors on my credit report. Beyond that, I learned that I have a credit score of 796, which puts me in the 99.5th percentile.
They also give you a breakdown of factors that helped and hurt your credit score. Here’s what they had to say about me…
Factors that increased my credit score:
- You have paid your bills on time and currently do not have any overdue accounts or derogatory information, such as a collection, charge-off, or bankruptcy, on your report.
- You have a good cushion of available credit between your current balance and your credit limits on all open trades. This has a positive affect on your credit score. This cushion shows lenders that you are unlikely to overextend yourself financially.
- The total balance on all your credit cards is relatively low compared to your total available credit limit. This has a positive impact on your credit score.
- Your average credit limit for your major credit cards, such as Discover, American Express, VISA, or MasterCard, is high. This tells lenders that you have enough financial experience, and they will be more likely to see you as a good credit risk.
Factors that decreased my credit score:
- Credit scores are calculated based on various factors in your credit report. Currently, your credit report does not show any significant negative or derogatory information.
How to cancel FreeCreditReport.com
Straight from their FAQs, here’s how to cancel:
If for any reason you are not satisfied, you can cancel anytime to discontinue your membership to Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring and stop the monthly billing. However, you will not be eligible for a prorated refund of any portion of your current month’s paid membership fee. To cancel, please contact Customer Care at 1-888-829-6560.
When I was done poking around, I called them up to cancel. After a brief period on hold, the phone rep pulled up my account, verified my identity, and then tried to convince me to stay for the remainder of my trial period. I simply told him that I had signed up to get the free credit report and credit score, and that I hadn’t seen anything after logging in that convinced me to stick around. He then canceled my account. The entire process took less than three minutes (yes, I timed it).
Just to be on the safe side, I called back and asked to cancel my account. The rep that I got this time around pulled it up just as before, and then said that my account was already showing that it had been canceled a few minutes earlier.
Is FreeCreditReport.com a scam?
So… In answer to the original question… FreeCreditReport.com is not (in my opinion) a scam. Yes, some people may erroneously arrive there looking for the federally mandated free credit reports mentioned above, but they clearly state what they’re all about and they honor the terms of the free trial period.
When she heard that I scored a 796, my wife decided she had to check hers. We’ve always run neck-and-neck since our credit histories are so similar, though she has often had me by a couple of points in the past (primarily due to a slightly longer credit history, I think).
Well… When she checked, she found out that her score was also 796. Exactly the same as mine. Consider me disappointed… I had hoped I would finally pass her by. For the record, she also found that the cancellation process was a snap — just be firm and clear about your desire to cancel.
So what are you waiting for? Go check your score and let us know if you can beat us. Just don’t forget to cancel if you don’t want their recurring service.
72 Responses to “Is FreeCreditReport.com a Scam?”
Absolute scam. Charging me 19.99/mo and I have called TWICE to cancel, and still being charged.
Another thing to consider is that the score that they offer you is a PLUS score which isn’t the same score that is looked at by lenders.
Thanks for the info. My credit score beeat yours…800
800 and 801!!
Clothes out and drying, it’s about time for a relaxing evening browsing the stuff on here… may have to nip to the tip with some recycling though
Great article! We will be linking to this great content on our site.
Keep up the good writing.
Why is it that car companies, etc. can gain access to our credit scores without any hassle, but we can not seem to see our own scores without getting hitched to a company to which we wind up paying a monthly fee?
This site is horrible they offer the free credit report but if you want to view all 3 of your scores they will charge you 32 dollars just to view it I found this out when I signed up to check my score and when I canceled I noticed this charge.. the customer service is horrible and can hardly understand these people. Why cant these companies get people who speak English without a thick accent. There are way better sites than this one that offer better membership plans and wont charge you to view all 3 reports when you pay the monthy membership fee and not add all sorts of bs charges.
The author of this article obviously works for freecreditreport.com. They do provide your credit report but they almost criminally trick you into paying $30 and a monthly fee. First they call themselves freecreditreport .com and charge money. I understand everyone needs to make a profit. But these people say it costs $1 just to get your credit card info then they sneak into the fine print that they will really charge you $31.99 and a monthly fee if you don’t cancel. Total scumbag business model. I would happily pay to get my credit report but I will never again use a company that takes money from people in this matter
Free credit report is a scam. They advertise for $1.00 for seven days, $19.95 there after. i was charged the $1.00 plus $36.00 for receiving my credit report. Called to understand the charge, representative said it clearly states $36. for the report. I went over their ad, terms and conditions with her, which never states about additional charge. Asked her to show me where it was stated. She could not show me but described the area the context is to be found. I cancelled the membership, have written the FTC, and now commenting on every web site I can find to expose them for the frauds they are. Looking for a free credit report go to Annual free credit report. Be safe.
I should have read this article before….Not only did they charge me the $1.00 charge twice but while getting my “free Trial” they charged me $31.95 within 1 hour of viewing it. When I called them they said I had upgraded. I remember avoiding the UPGRADE button specifically. I NEVER upgraded. Then they told me they could only offer me $17.00 back because that was their charge, the rest was outside companies. Truly a scam. Flat out liars.
Beware of their scam. I was a member of Free Credit Score until they tricked me. I longed into their account and there was a link to review all three of my scores. I thought since I was a member, I could see my scores so I clicked the linked and was instantly charged $39.00. Since they already had my credit card on file for their service, and I was not aware that they would charge it to me extra, it just went through. I do not trust these sites when they ploy and scam themselves to make a buck.
It is a SCAM!!!!
I understand the way they get you is if you forget to cancel your membership. If you do not cancel within 7 days, you will be charged $16.95 per month until you cancel. No problem. I get that and it’s posted all over the site.
However, they erroneously charged me $31.95 within minutes of me signing up for the $1.00 credit report and credit score. This is how they do it: Once you enter in your credit card information to authorize a $1 charge, they take you to another screen with two buttons that say “No, take me to my Experian report” or “Yes, I want to view all 3 reports”. They tell me I clicked on the “yes” button to view all 3 reports. Because of this they charged me $31.95. I asked the supervisor with whom I was speaking to show me where I authorized a $31.95 charge OR to show me where on the website listed this $31.95 charge. The supervisor could not show me this information. She said I had to visit one of their other sites to see it and enter in my credit card information again. Um, no. Does the site actually tell you about the $31.95 charge in 3 pt font on the website, in Mandarin, on the 4th page, somewhere behind a tab? Either way this is unethical and misleading at the least and surely is considered a SCAM.
They sent me a text message that my score “might” have changed and to hurry and sign up. So I came online to check it out. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck its a duck..just substitute “scam” for duck. Nuff said.
They are a scam, used freecreditreport.com was told had 7 days to cancel or they would charge me 14.95 so they very next day after I got my report, i was looking at my checking account and they took $31.95 out of my account, so I called them, they said because I pushed on the button that said get my free report I was charged that fee.. I said well I thought I had to push that button to get my report, there was nothing telling me not to, then I was told, well sorry mam this was not included in your membership because it gave you reports from 3 companies ( which it had 3 company names on it… but it was just one report) SCAM! But since they are SO generous they took $17.00 off and only charged me $14.95.. surprise! and I cancelled my membership so I got charged $14.95 for one day of service! SCAM!
Don’t sign up with these guys. Why support a business that’s based on scamming people? there was nothing free about my free trial. it cost me $30 bucks and a lot of frustration. I can’t stand this company.
Scammed me for $30 be careful with their extra options!!! They ask you if you want to see all three of your credit scores, I clicked it while goggn through the process to see report. NO where on there did I see it say that you will be billed for it.
Charge that I did not approve = SCAM. Very deceptive. I will report my experience to the FTC.
THIS IS A SCAM!!!!
My wife and I just did this, even though some of you were able to get out. But we called and COULD NOT get through to anyone real. Just an automated answering system that (no matter who called or what phone we tried) DOES NOT UNDERSTAND A HUMAN’S VOICE!
Now we got charged and still can’t cancel!
And “Amber” we DID READ! Don’t be so closed minded that just because you got out, doesn’t mean everyone else is stupid. Lost in your own world where everything works out. Wake up and realize there’s other people with other situations than yours…instead of being part of the “everyone should see my point of view” generation. It’s pathetic.
Fraud! Signed up, canceled, continued charging me for almost a year. Only got reimbursed after threatening to go to the bbb. Leaches, scum, crooks, thease people should be in jail.
Its not a scam but they are trying to fool people with getting free credit report but in the end charging your account 29.95.. Its ridiculous,i didnt even acknowledge them to charge that amount in my account.what theyre doing is illegal trying to fool people and get our money..
Oh, another couple of things:
If you want to see a 3 bureau report, and you’ve used your annual one, already, call while you have your trial and mention that you wanted to see all three. They sometimes offer free ones to keep the account open. You can call and get discounted rates on them, too. The key is to call.
If you like the idea of keeping your credit report(s) monitored but don’t like the cost, call and ask to cancel, and you can be offered up to a 50% discount on the monthly rate for up to 2 years. Just keep track of when the discount will expire.
Oh, and the job sites with the links to the credit report sites are not affiliated with Experian. Those job sites are scams that are trying to get into your credit information. I looked into that when it happened to a friend of mine.
I have used the services of freecreditreport.com, before. I have not had to pay for anything that I did not choose. For one thing, I realize that anything asking for a credit card is looking to bill me. Therefore, I make certain to do everything to avoid being billed that I can. On the page where you sign up, in the same size font, you are informed of the free trial, the time period, and the need to cancel to avoid monthly fees. When I clicked on the the option to see all three credit reports and scores, there is a page that says, “Submit secure order,” and it shows how much that report costs.
By the way, this company and many others (freecreditscore.com, creditreport.com and creditscore.com) are owned by Experian, the credit bureau. I agree that there are some idiotic things that are said to people when they call to cancel. There are times when accounts do not get cancelled, as requested. However, I have always had excellent service when I call to cancel, although I do know people who have not. Also, do you really think they want you to cancel without having purchased something? There are stores and restaurants that will not allow people to use the bathroom unless they are paying customers, so why is that a surprise?
I feel sorry for the employees whose job it is to talk to the people who call to cancel. Don’t you realize that their jobs depend on how many people they can convince to stay enrolled in the monitoring memberships? It’s an odd kind of sales.
You don’t have to wait for a confirmation email. Simply ask for the employee’s name and get a confirmation number for the cancellation. You can do the same thing that was mentioned earlier and call back to confirm the cancellation. I’ve known people who got their money returned to them when it was confirmed that there membership had not been used for the length of time that they had had it, and when there was a record of the previous call to cancel, but the account was not canceled, too.
The thing about annualcreditreport.com is that it only allows you all three reports (no scores) one time per year. The thing about the scores is ridiculous, too. There should be one scoring system, and all lenders should be bound to use it.
The thing about Experian is that it is the biggest credit bureau, and it is the most commonly used credit bureau. It is important to view the reports from all 3 bureaus and make certain that all information is correct. Mistakes can lower your scores, and the bureaus simply show what the companies who are reporting to them give. Experian has a simple online dispute process, and it is easier to access it if you have a membership (even in a trial) with one of the websites, so you have a current report. To get through Experian’s automated phone system, you need the report number from the dispute site, too. If your dispute does not go the way you want, remember that the bureau has to contact the company who reported the item that you are disputing and verify it, so don’t blame the bureau.
To sum things up: you are responsible for yourself. Read everything. If something wants your billing information, it will charge you. Be nice, but firm in your desire to cancel a membership. Confirm everything. Also, don’t knock the monitoring. With these memberships, even in trial, comes fraud resolution, id theft insurance, and some nice discount perks, not just the ability to see your report and score. People with good credit are at the most risk to be targeted for identity theft and fraudulent activity.
Finally, I don’t deny that there is some corporate b.s. that is involved here, but ultimately, you have to look out for yourself. Nobody else will do it for you, and there are morons in every company. If you have bad luck on the first try, hang up and call back. Ask for a supervisor or to have your previous bad experience reported to a supervisor. At this point in time, credit is a necessary evil.
It IS a SCAM!!
In order to cancel you have to call.
Well, I’ve been calling for days to cancel (and not be charged again) and am repeatedly told I will be sent an email confirming, but I’ve still never that email.
The call center personnel are furtive and deceptive. When I ask “will I be receiving my email confirming cancellation?” The response is “you should”.
Watch out, this outfit is run by thieves!
Ms. Amber, in my case, because of the error code, that is, it insisting on a country, where no country field existed, I never actually reached the page which has the credit card field. This was not my fault. One sign of a scam is misspellings (such as when the origin of the scam are foreigners or uneducated persons, such as felons) and when programming errors exist, which are perhaps not really programming errors, but an excuse to make you believe you have not signed up for services that their system actually records as a sign-up. It is scary that anyone claiming to have a possible job for you can ask for your social security number, driver’s license, date of birth, etc. I have said it again: when an entity posing as an employer (not part of freecreditreport.com, but with an alliance with creditreport.com) lures sometimes hopeful or desperate prospective job seekers into having to sign up only with freecreditreport.com, with their knowing that a certain percentage (based on probability) of job-seekers will invariably fail to remember or even fail to notice or realize that they have been hoodwinked into a monthly ding to their bank account, it is a clever scam. No doubt if such an alliance is legal, it is unethical. The point to be made here is not that everyone must be careful. The point is also that what they are doing is wrong. Wouldn’t we all love to own a slot machine that favors the house in such a way! Freecreditreport.com no doubt gives kickbacks to all the companies out there who direct them to their site. They also have a record of neglecting to follow people’s instructions to stop the service and to stop withdrawing money from their bank accounts. They think we are stupid. Follow the money, honey!
so i still love how everyone thinks its a scam maybe you guys should try to read the website it tells you EVERYTHING on there and i know when something says free but still ask for your credit card information that i know they are needing that information for a reason so again READ the website….And as far as the 29.95 for all three reports and to make this clear on freecreditREPORT.com hits the name you only get one report and yes it does tell you bc it did offer it to me as well that we are pleased to offer you an upgrade from the experian report and score to all three reports and you actually have to click on get all three you do have the option to click no thanks contuie with MEMBER benefits. So stop getting mad about stuff you DIDNT READ
As part of an apparently real online job application [I had applied to job online earlier], on the second page of the follow up job application which was emailed to me by link, I was required to sign up with freecreditreport.com – I actually put in my information to see how far it would go. I did read to the left information that I would be billed on a monthly basis if I did not cancel within 7 days, but after entering my name and address and email in the freecr..p.com application page there was a fake “Country is a required field” error code. Now I suspect that I may have been signed up against my will and without my knowledge of it going through and scammed into purchasing credit report services on the chance that I might get a job through a legitimate hiring authority (who required a preliminary credit report background check. The company emailing me was Long & Perry out of New York ( longandperry.com .) I should have known better. It is not only unethical to require job-seekers to buy something, is illegal and criminal. When I say scam, I do not mean unprofessional or a little shady: I mean SCAM. RIPOFF. I should have been suspicious. Any company that is legitimate would not require a job-seeker to buy anything. If a credit report is needed, the company who wants to check you out should pay for it, not the job-seeker. I am convinced there never was a job. This was just a scam to get as many people as possible to go to freecreditreport.com
The reason why many people think it’s a scam is because of the fact that not only is the website not very clear that you’re enrolled in the triple advantage program but the fact that you have to call to cancel. Why can’t I cancel the same way that I enrolled into the program? It took one click to enroll, and I could enroll during all hours of the night. YET, for some reason, to cancel, I have to call (during their business hours mind you) and get them to cancel it for me. That’s pretty absurd. Lastly, if they really want to serve the customer why not have it to where I can call 24 hours to cancel? I have to call during their 8 a.m. to 6 (I am throwing an estimate) time of cancelling? It’s very obvious you’re trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to not cancel. I’m sure on average they get at least three months of charges before the person catches on and cancels.
Honestly, I wouldn’t say it was as deceptive if they had 24 hour business hours for cancelling, an automated 24 hour call service to cancel, OR allowed you to cancel online. It’s very obvious they want to make it as difficult as possible to cancel.
In my opinion this trial period is totally a scam. After i signed up the website said that it was still collecting my data for a whole week, so i cancelled on the 7th day because the terms that you have to cancel within 7 days. when i cancelled mine on the 7th day, i still got billed. The woman on the phone told me that when you sign up, that counts for 24 hours immediately. So according freecreditreport.com, in the five minutes it took me to sign up, 24 hours passed. so 5 minutes = 24hours! You have to cancel within 6 real days in order to not be charged. they are playing with words on their terms and conditions. i am going to blast this message on every single website that i possibly can so that i can change as many minds as i possibly can. i hope that no one else gets scammed because of this.
BEWARE! Nothing “free” about this website. Don’t use this site unless you want to be charged $17 every month for a year — once you get a credit report, you have automatically “subscribed” without your knowing!
I’m not an idiot. I signed up to see what this was all about, saw that I got nothing I really wanted for the free value, and called to cancel my membership before I was charged. This was all withing a matter of 15 minutes. I checked my card balances and then realized that I was charged 29.95 for a credit report. I called back only to be told that I had in fact gave the okay to upgrade (no, I had not) and purchase an additional credit report (again, I had not). I don’t even know what my score is because I NEVER LOOKED at any of the scores. I am supposed to be getting a 15.00 refund in 10 days. Therefore, I was charge 14.95 plus the 1.00 extra fee for an hour and a half of frustration. Ridiculous.
LOL! This post CRACKS me up! AND I agree w/ Anthony above who said you’re all idiots for not reading the site. I have a membership and I LOVE it. It’s EXCELLENT to have a way to keep track of every last little thing, and yes if you want to see Equifax and TransUnion scores, of COURSE you’ll be charged, the site even tells you that! You think access to your own information should be free? Well who should pay for the site to work? Who should pay for the interface? Who should pay for the monitoring, programming, and updating of the information? Hmmm….
I used it last night and canceled it the same night, checked my credit card and there was a $1 charge. Called them up to dispute the charge since it’s a free credit report and they say the charge was there because I used a premiere site to go to them. Bullshit! I went there from a Sec 8 housing page! Free my arse! BEWARE!!!!!!
I just got off the phone with them, trying to cancel my membership. The guy told me that if I cancel my membership, my credit score will fall to zero!!!! IMAGINE THE NERVE OF THIS GUY. I was, like, WHAT? I said, in that case, please cancel it immediately. I love my score to be a zero.
What a bunch of idiots. Obviously, I do not recommend this to anybody. Go to the other sites that offer the same thing.
Everyone of you that say its a scam are idiots. If you ppl werent so lazy and stupid and would read the website it tells you everything that is going to happen. One, its called triple advantage cause it monitors all 3 not because you get all 3, they arent allowed to provide Equifax and Transunion’s scores to their members because the other bureaus charge them so thats why you idiots get charged 24.95, again if yall would read you would see this.
I have been a member of freecreditreport.com for almost a year. I have been building my credit in order to buy a home. I no longer needed there services and tried to cancel but there customer service rep refused to do so. I have been on a roller coaster ride with them for months. I am very angry with them and do not recommend them. they Still have not canceled my membership.
I went on free credit report signed up and then called in the week to cancel . they gave me a number of cancellation. Then I discovered they were still charging my credit card. It was one I rarely used – they charged for 6 months and now they won’t give me my money back. It is a scam..
Okay yea freecreditreport would give u experian, they use the plus scoring method, which if ur credit is up to par, ull hve a high score..be weary of these sites, go directly to the sites, experian bc there no longer w/ myfico (only transunion/equifax) so ur experian credit score is really ur plus score, for educational purposes, not the actually (fico) tht lenders see…check the small print on the site…only use myfico site, there rated # 1 in giving the most accurate score, why wuld u pay to monitor every month wen u can check ur fico every 4 months for a cheaper price! Myfico for equifax/transunion & the offical experian site for ur plus score, which is not what is seen by the lenders….do ur homework ppl, the only ficos id be concerned ab it transunion/equifax as they r the only compaines tht still let u c ur true fico score and not some “plus score, that isn’t even ur real fico (which I say again, only to be seen by lenders/not u!
@Tom: The call center people felt bad for you? Lucky you! I got yelled at by them when I cancelled my “membership” because it’s not actually free as the name is trying to make you believe.
“They obtained my new credit card number through Experian and charged me their $14.95 membership without my approval. SCAM!”
DITTO…these guys are frauds. I am getting a good lawyer and going to town on them. Ridiculous. I tried to cancel 22 times in three years and they still try to slip things past my credit cards even when I block them from trying to “renew” my membership without asking. I am going to sue them for harrasment. Even there call center people feel bad for me when I call them. These people are common criminals and not business people.
Site is a scam in that they are scamming people out of money. It’s not free. And they will figure out a way to bill you.
Site is a scam. Offers free credit report rank and then charged for something I never agreed to pay. I thought they needed my credit card number for information to obtain the free report – Duh. Never give out your credit card number you are GETTING CHARGED. Discover did not support me even though they know its a scam. Both companies suck.
I would have to disagree with it being a scam. I just recently tried this website out with the intentions of cancelling the 7 day free trial triple advantage membership. My bank account was charged the one dollar charge as i expected followed by a 24.95 charge which of course i didnt expect. Once i called to inquire about the second charge they informed me that it was because i looked at my equifax credit score as well as my experian so because they are not in buisness with equifax i got charged 24.95 for looking at it. Two things came to mind when i was told this.. One its a triple advantage trial membership which in my understanding means i can look at all three. Two, when you go to your login on the site, all three credit scores are already pulled up when you click on the credit score. Once i told them that there is nothing on the website that said they would charge you for that and expalined how the website worked they were more than happy to refund me only 10 dollars of my 24.95. In order to get the remainder i have to fax a letter to a company that is handling refunds for them. Which leads me to believe that im not the only one whose requesting refunds from this website. Obviously its a problem if they are having to bring in another corp. to handle their refunds. What they are doing might not be illegal , but it is in fact misleading and the only reason i could see them doing that is because they are trying to SCAM people out of their money.
As I just found out the hard way DIRECTLY from Experian, the credit score given to consumers is NOT the same as what they give lenders. I called them after being told by several lenders that my credit score was 50-75 points lower then what Experian’s own credit score tracking service reported to me. The support person told me the scores are based on different data and this is the case for ALL of these consumer services. To me this makes them ALL scams.
I just read through this entire article and I want to thank the writer for taking the reader on his step-by-step walk-thru of the credit reporting website. Was I the only one to notice that while the writer is directly speaking about the site Freecreditreport.com and Freecreditreport.com is highlighted and linked throughout the article, whenever you click on one of those links, it takes you to freecreditscore.com. That is not the same website as Freecreditreport.com.
Why is that?
As far as I am concerned it is a scam. You cannot get all the info from the credit reports from creditreport.com First they only work with experian unless you pay a second fee which was not announced before paying the first fee. Second, if you ever want to dispute a claim you will not be able to find the account numbers of the so called debts, and thus they do not deliver you the whole credit report as advertised. It’s a scam all the way around. They make it painfully hard to cancel your account. You have to sit on the phone with some halfwitted clown and tell them about 20 times that you want your account closed, while they proceed to try to convince you to stay. By the time your done on the phone you feel like you’ve been mind-raped. freecreditreport.com can suck my fat ones.
SCAM: Cancelled within 3 days and was charged $24.95 for some reason.
They obtained my new credit card number through Experian and charged me their $14.95 membership without my approval. SCAM!
The 3-in-1 report sales pitch is also misleading. When you subscribe, find errors and try to fix them – you can’t. You then have to contact each credit agency directly, subcribe to their report and work through the maze of steps to get the changes made. Clearly they have no incentive to report accurate information or make any changes in a timely fashion. They all mislead by careful ‘word-play’ and provide no real benefit.
Fortunately, things are changing due to their corrupt and misleading practices.
Jumping on the Ed-Katie-Michele bandwagon here. I too was charged 24.95 (which came to 27.16 due to taxes) despite canceling my membership that same day. When I called to inquire the rep stated it was a fee for ordering an additional detailed report from all 3 credit agencies. I was wary about hidden fees from the start, and would not have agreed to any charges beyond the initial membership fee while navigating the website. IF the fee actually was disclosed beforehand, it was definitely done in an underhanded way.
Stick with annualcreditreport.com!
Ed, Katie…same thing happened to me! I just got off the phone with the sales rep who used the same crappy jargon with me too. Will never use again!
I think this sums it up, thanks Doug:
Purposefully misleading? Yes
Bad idea? Yes
DON’T USE THIS SERVICE!!!! YOU WILL GET BURNED. BESIDES, THERE’S A REAL FREE SERVICE: AnnualCreditReport.com, which my bank actually recommended.
SCAM! I had the exact same experience as Ed above described. I supposedly signed up for the report from all three credit reporting agencies knowing it would cost 24.99, however I was totally unaware of this charge. Just like Ed above, the customer service rep and a “manager” claimed that I’d been informed of the extra charge before clicking to get the reports. I do not recall being informed in any way that I would be charged this fee for the three reports. I believe the website is intentionally deceptive! If they did disclose the fee, it was buried somewhere any average user would not notice.
It may not be a scam to use but THEY ARE sending scam emails to people to get them to sign up on their site. – Please do not tell me it is not them that is doing it because they are the only ones that are benefiting because of the scam emails. I have been looking for a job for almost 3 months and by now would take almost anything and almost fell into their scam. They have been found guilty of scaming before and have had to pay a fine. They are guilty and I would reconsider endorsing this company. If you are thinking about using them – search it out first. There are legit companies out there – use them.
Its kind of amusing that this whole article looks like an advertisement for a very dishonest and very unethical website that is designed to trick and scam people into not only getting a credit report that is not free at all but to continue to charge you for the privilege of looking at your own information. Its comical at best that scams like this exist and even more comical that the whole credit report scam exists. carefully guarded trade secrets. LOL Thats how they calculate your secret score. Is that like the 11 secret herbs and spices at that horrid chicken place or is this similar to Mc Donalds 100%all beef (TM) ….. One would hope that people can see this sort of rubbish for them selves but if they could then they would lobby to abolish corporate run credit agency’s.
I used this service and was horrified to find that my credit is in the 400-450 range. After some digging around I found out that someone had been using my credit to buy scale model replicas of whale genitalia! It turns out that the guy who was ripping me off was also a convicted arsonist and morbidly obese to the point of immobility! When the police led a strike team into his “Den of Debauchery” (a squalid studio apartment 300 feet below a haunted waterpark), I volunteered to be the pointman. After a lengthy climb down some cargo netting, I kicked down the fat man’s door. Zounds! In front of me was the fat man, leaning back in his motorized scooter, rubbing together his corpulent claws in satisfaction.
He wore a toga made out of soiled bed sheets and wore on his head a paper crown from a BK big kids meal.
“I’ve been expecting you,” He said, in a garbled voice that seemed choked by fat.
Now his scooter made a low whirring noise, and a klaxon sounded from the wall. A hidden compartment opened up on the scooter’s backside and four spindly metallic legs sprung out. The legs lifted up the fat man as he let loose a guttural chuckle.
Two vulcan cannons emerged from the sides of the scooter and opened fire. I sprung from my crouch and rolled to evade the 20 mm. AP rounds that rocketed from the twin barrels. A second after I had moved the loveseat behind me was ripped apart from the fire. Luckily the fat man was a bad shot.
I was now up and running at full speed and I hurdled over an end table and took aim with my Pancor Jackhammer. I pulled the trigger three times and three 12 gauge shells flew from the barrel with explosive force and met their target. The fat mans face. The lead tore through his soft flesh, blowing brain matter and bits of fragmented bone everywhere. It made sense that the arterial spray was so massive, he was a large man. The mechanical legs buckled and the scooter fell on it’s side. I had won.
Later, I was recognized for my achievment and was awarded the congressional medal of honor. Barack Obama shook my hand and Nancy Pelosi offered me a number of sexual favors that I could take advantage of any time.
It was a good arbor day.
The author of this article and all the responders so far are missing the “BIG PICTURE”…as usual.
What is a big scam, is the credit reports/scores in the first place. Why don’t we finally realize that the system is obviously only a way to “keep an eye” on us and force is to do or not do things.
Isn’t it ridiculous in the first place that we can not have access to our own information?
That is like not being able to know about our health files, school grades, etc.
Why can’t people see anything beyond their own noses?
Identity theft is another bank invention to keep us in line and in fear constantly.
If it is such a big problem, why not give everyone an account number and access to the scores, reports and info 24/7?
That would take care of ID theft in a second, but they don’t want that to happen, because fear is one more control tool.
Don’t ever use credit, pay cash and only buy what you can afford and you will never have to worry or care about your credit score.
Wake up people!
I don’t understand why one should automatically(mandatorily) get signed on while getting their free credit report. If subscription is automatic, why not unsubscribe automatically on the 7th day?? Obviously they cash in on the fact that many will forget to cancel. A clear case of “bad faith”.
I just cancelled my subscription after noticing that the 14.99 jumped to 24.99. I inquired and they said that I had ordered a detailed report online. I 100% did not do this. I did click the link to do this – and it takes you to a second page that you have to check and click through – two steps I would remember doing. The service rep insisted that I was just being forgetful. Uh. No. DO NOT use this service people. It is a horrible scam! Hidden charges abound!
Thank you so much for this information. I have always been very mindful of my finances and pride myself with my very nice credit score of 728. Although not as nice as you and your wife’s. But, I give myself a little handicap for being a single mom for 16 years, supporting two teenagers, no child support and no degree (but still a goal of mine). I (just yesterday) was notified that I will be losing my job due to downsizing and am scared to death, with this economy, that I will lose everything I’ve worked so hard for. I do have debt I need to remove but wonder if bankruptcy is a better option for me. If I had no credit card debt I feel I can sustain myself even on unemployment, but am truly worried.
Purposefully misleading? Yes
Bad idea? Yes
Joanna: Yes, annualcreditreport.com is the real deal, with no strings attached. In fact, I mentioned it in my article above. Rotating through the different bureaus is a great strategy — I do that myself. The downside is that it doesn’t provide you with access to your credit score. For that, you’ll either have to pay or use one of these free trials.
There is also annualcreditreport.com – now that the 3 credit reporting companies have to allow one free report (from each) per year, this is a way to get the report without paying anything – although each of the individual report companies will charge you a nominal fee (usually around $8) to get your FICO credit score.
I typically do one from each of the companies over the course of a year (once every 4 months) to keep track of my credit score and check for any usual activity. The trick is to keep track of which company you use at each time – if you order more than one from them per year, they will charge.
Ramsey is trying to get famous taking the anti-credit score stance, when in reality no one really cares about it unless their score is bad.
Agents have a lot more authority than you realize. Like any salesman, they like to have their hands artificially tied by an invisible “guy in the back,” but they are a great advocate for the customer.
It’s commonly known that you should shop around for better premiums every couple of years due to how fast the landscape changes. Because of that, many agents will do a lot to write your policies.
Everything’s negotiable, even insurance.
Its not the agent that makes pricing decisions on insurance policies. The quoted premiums are at the mercy of the underwriting department. Good luck convincing them to deviate from their system!
Sorry for being unclear. I was initially asserting that, for me, the FICO score is not important enough to track, per Dave Ramsey.
And in response to your statement that any financial guru who advises his followers to ignore the credit score is almost reckless, I posited that Dave’s intention probably is to make a bold statement that flies in the face of what passes for common knowledge about why someone should maintain their credit score.
Yeah, I’d take a higher score, too. But, Dave wasn’t referring to someone passively observing, “Oh, my credit score is high… Lucky me!” That’s obviously not the target audience when he refers to the practice of worshiping at the altar of FICO. If you’re living a debt-free life, the potential non-lending difference of a low FICO score is just immaterial.
Honestly, if you want lower premiums on your property insurance, you can negotiate a better deal regardless of what your credit score is. Point your agent to your claim history, safety provisions, household income, neighborhood, etc. I think I just read something about haggling recently. 🙂
Wayne: As I alluded to in my initial response, I couldn’t agree with you more that taking “incurring debt for the sake of a number” is stupid. I also agree that “pretending that a good credit score is the secret to becoming wealthy is bad advice.” I have to admit, however, that it’s unclear who you’re arguing against here… I have yet to hear any reputable financial expert to profess these things to be true. Regardless, if given the choice between a high and low credit score, I’d choose the high one.
Dave doesn’t even pretend that FICO score doesn’t matter. He acknowledges that he probably pays a little bit more for insurance every year because insurance companies might rely on the FICO score too much. The greater message, and the message that high-net-worth people apparently agree with, is that borrowing money to raise your credit score is a poor use of your time.
Read The Millionaire Next Door or The Millionaire Mind and see if you can find reference to the financially independent folks surveyed ever caring what their credit score is. The truth is, pretending that a good credit score is the secret to becoming wealthy is bad advice. Most of the credit score optimizers would like to see their FICO increase as if its a measure of their success.
By Dave recommending not caring about your FICO score, he’s jarring awake those who are acting as if all of the debt they are incurring and treading water in for the sake of a number. Instead, he points them to far more efficient uses of their time, like spending less, saving and investing more, and working harder. Those are the choices that seem to make the big difference.
Wayne: I’ve reviewed Credit Karma in the past, and think that it’s a great service. However, it’s inaccurate to say that they use the same algorithms as the credit reporting agencies. Those algorithms are actually tightly protected trade secrets. Moreover, I just updated my score with Credit Karma and it was off by about 30 points.
As for Ramsey’s stance re: worshiping at the altar of the FICO score, it’s incredibly shortsighted to ignore your credit score, and it borders on reckless for “guru” like Dave to encourage his follower to do so. No, you shouldn’t make stupid choices in the interest of raising your credit score, but you also shouldn’t pretend that it doesn’t matter. Whether you like it or not, your credit score does matter, and for things that go far beyond your ability to borrow.
If you want a truly free, no-strings credit score, get it at CreditKarma.com, which uses the same algorithms that the credit reporting agencies use to generate the FICO number and there isn’t any trial to cancel. They also tell you what you would need to do if you wanted to raise your score.
But, I personally prefer Dave Ramsey’s FICO stance:
However, “beating you” is not the point. Having a high FICO Score is it’s own reward. My new bank in western North Carolina (where I’m moving to retire) agreed to give me a Construction Loan for $750K and, after the house is completed, convert it to 2 permanent loans to keep in their own portfolio. This is very unusual, and is entirely based on my FICO score and a few other details. This way I avoid a Jumbo Loan, get great rates and avoid Private Mortgage Insurance, additional fees, etc. In addition, by building now, I get almost 20% more for my money due to lower material and labor costs. I love it when a 40-year plan works! ; )
Great walkthrough! I agree that, although not a “scam,” they certainly are marketing towards people whom have a high chance of forgetting to cancel.
Is that their fault? Of course not. Obviously the consumer maintains the blame. However, they get the reputation they deserve when they go fishing like this.