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FreeCreditReport.com is a website owned by Experian Consumer Direct, a subsidiary of the credit bureau Experian. The site offers users to check their personal credit reports from Experian on the condition that they sign up for Experian's Triple Advantage

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Take care to avoid signing up for a service that you probably don't need.

  • Nov 5, 2009
  • by
The lure of the commercials is quite compelling and evidently extremely effective.  Three  charming but slightly unkempt young fellows sing the praises of a website called freecreditreport.com.  If only they had been on top of their credit report they would have avoided the unfortunate calamity that has befallen them.  Yeah, right!   But  a lot of misinformed consumers out there are falling prey to this scam and are forking over their hard earned dough for a service they likely do not need.   Lots of people including the Federal Trade Commission are beginning to catch on.  Perhaps you can avoid being an unwitting victim by learning about this now.
Ron Lieber writes the "Your Money" column for The New York Times and oversees the content at nytimes.com/yourmoney.  In his column of November 3, 2009 entitled "A Free Credit Score Followed by a Monthly Bill" Lieber cautions his readers to avoid the trap that is awaiting them at freecreditreport.com.  You see what is being offered at freecreditreport.com is really not free at all.
The "free" credit report being pitched to potential customers is really nothing more than a lure for folks to sign up for a $14.95 monthly service that alerts subscribers to changes in their credit status.  Credit monitoring provides customers with real-time updates of any changes in their credit status.  According to Lieber and others there are a couple of big problems with this.  First and foremost,  by federal law each and every consumer is entitled to a free copy of his or her credit report once a year.  If you are interested in obtaining  a copy of your report simply go to the government-authorized site AnnualCreditReport.com. to apply.  It won't cost you a dime.  An awful lot of people are simply not aware of this.  Secondly, most financial experts will argue that for the overwhelming majority of the American people signing up for a credit-monitoring service is totally unnecessary and a complete waste of money.  I know I keep on top on my finances by monitoring my bank and credit card accounts online at least once a week.  Taking this proactive approach does not cost me a thing and will in all probabilty will alert me to any problems such as identity theft. 

The Federal Trade Commission has taken a dim view of the practices of Experian, the parent company of freecreditreport.com.  The FTC contends that Experian has misled consumers and Experian has ponied up more than $1.25 million in fines over the past five years.  But still the ads continue.  As I indicated earlier, this is a very lucrative business.  In fact, according to the latest available data more than nine million people are spending in excess of $650 million annually on these services.  There is a high turnover rate in this industry which is why the commercials run continuously.  freecreditreport.com is always looking for new customers to replace those who figure out what is going on and opt out of the program.  The average enrollment of a credit monitoring customer is less than one year.  

My advice to you would be to avoid this site entirely.  Otherwise you might unwittingly sign up for a service that you never really wanted or needed.  And I understand that it can be a bit of a hassle to opt out.  Use common sense and monitor your important accounts yourself online. This will help to ease your mind and keep you abreast of any problems that might crop up unexpectedly.    Not recommended!
Take care to avoid signing up for a service that you probaby don't need. Ron Lieber

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November 05, 2009
Hey Paul- Fantastic piece! One other wrinkle... even on the legitimately free sites, you can receive your credit "report" for free however, your credit "score" is additional. This entire category just reeks... M
November 05, 2009
Wow a negative number on a review (laughs). Excellent post and very well written. Thanks for taking the time to educate us.
November 05, 2009
Thanks for raising awareness on this, Paul!  My accountant said something about checking my credit report for free annually, so I googled it and got to freecreditreport.com.  Fortunately, I browsed around, saw that it wasn't free and realized that I was probably on the wrong site.  What a misleading name.  It would make things easier if the government site had a .gov URL.  I think your rating of a -2 is quite generous!
November 05, 2009
You know I think you are right. I don't ordinarily do this but I am changing my rating to a -4. Thanks for the comments.
November 05, 2009
Just goes to show you if it really was "free" they wouldn't spend all that money to create those well produced commercials! Thanks for your insights.
November 05, 2009
Yes!  Since when does something that is supposedly free need to be so heavily advertised?  Never.
More freecreditreport.com reviews
Quick Tip by . January 20, 2012
Free Credit Report is not free, not in the least bit. They lure you in with those words and state that you will be able to get your credit reports free. You are legally allowed access to a copy of your credit report (yes, for free) from each of the agencies. However, with this site, they only give you "free access" for the first month but, end up charging you $12.95 a month thereafter.      For what, you ask? The ability to keep an eye on your credit monthly. But, after …
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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freecreditreport.com is part of a family of online consumer credit reporting sites belonging to ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. and is America's #1 provider of online Credit Reports. Experian acquired Consumerinfo.com in 2002.

As an Experian® company, freecreditreport.com is dedicated to giving our members the information and resources they need to stay on top of their credit. Take a minute to explore the information on this page and you'll quickly see why millions of Americans use the credit knowledge we provide to help them reach their financial goals sooner.

Experian® is a global leader in providing information, analytical tools and marketing services to organizations and consumers to help manage the risk and reward of commercial and financial decisions. Using our comprehensive understanding of individuals, markets and economies, we help organizations find, develop and manage customer relationships to make their businesses more profitable.

Experian promotes greater financial health and opportunity among consumers by enabling them to understand, manage and protect their personal information, helping them control financial aspects of key life events, and make the most advantageous financial and purchasing decisions.

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