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FTC Forces Free Credit Report Web Sites To Honesty

By Faye Mergel
Published: Friday, March 12th, 2010

Getting updated credit reports is becoming the rage nowadays and it is easy to see way. Consumers were rocked hard when the economic crisis hit. The meteoric rise of the nationwide unemployment rate made things even worse. Now that the economy is showing signs of recovery, consumers are being vary careful of not falling into the same disaster that they faced when the economy tanked which is why a lot of them are keeping a close eye on their credit reports.

FTC Forces Free Credit Report Web Sites To HonestyA credit report is basically a report on the credit and loan status of a consumer. Good credit reports mean good credit scores, that all important number which determines whether a consumer gets his or her loan and credit application approved and can even affect the employment chances of a consumer.

In an effort to help people keep an eye on their finances, the federal government is giving them a chance to get three free credit reports every year, one report from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian respectively. Those three are the major credit reporting agencies in the country. This rule is a part of the Fair And Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) issued in 2004. The FACT is a revision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA of 2003.

The rule is very beneficial to consumers and could actually help consumers avoid getting into financial trouble. However, the issuing of free credit reports has been very confusing ever since the ruling came out, no thanks to several companies offering so called “free” credit reports which are actually just a lure for consumers to get them to spend on credit monitoring services and other such offers which are not freely available under the rules of the federal government. The majority of these questionable offers are found online, in websites luring consumers with free credit reports only to mislead consumers to purchasing unwanted credit monitoring services.

In an effort to cut through the confusion, the federal government is now requiring these websites to display prominently in their webpage these specific words: “THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Read more at FTC.GOV. You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law.” The notice is to be made visible on every page that contains a mention of “free credit reports”.

In addition to the aforementioned notice, these websites are also required to include disclosures which must have clickable buttons that will direct visitors to these three links: “Take me to the authorized source”, “AnnualCreditReport.com” and “FTC.GOV”.

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