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The Debate Over The Existence Of Free Credit Reports

By Faye Mergel
Published: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

RUBRF-00034471-001Credit scores are the best way to determine the health of your credit rating. Consumers by and large aren’t really aware of what their credit report comprises of, or what effect it has on ones credit score. There are many advertisements which claim free credit reports and the like; truth be told this is just a marketing gimmick to get consumers to purchase their credit monitoring and credit repair services. Daru Burdge, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of East Tennessee says that Free credit reports, without strings attached, are available, Consumers need to know where to turn and not be enticed by online offers that promise free reports and then require them to sign up for programs and services that have a fee.”

Don’t despair, for there is hope. The FTC – Federal Trade Commission has mandated that any web site that claims free credit reports will need to back it up with a disclaimer. The disclaimer as prescribed is “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 website must also provide links to both www.annualcreditreport.com and www.ftc.gov. Later during the year, the same will be made mandatory for TV and radio advertisements.

As per government regulations, customers can request one free copy of their credit report, per bureau, per year. You may request a copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com; alternatively you could also call 877-322-8228, or by mailing a written request form to The Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. There are three credit bureaus in the United States, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and it’s a good idea to request a copy from each bureau as their data defers slightly. While requesting your credit report, be sure to provide your name, SSN, date of birth, and any other information they may ask to identify you, such as the amount of your monthly mortgage payment, or your car payment. You may also purchase your FICO score at the source from Fair Isaac.

CCCS – Consumer Credit Counseling Service of East Tennessee is a 501(c)3 non profit community service agency that provides consumers with financial planning, budget counseling, money management education, bankruptcy counseling and education, debt management and comprehensive housing counseling. CCCS is a subsidiary of the CredAbility Network, which is a group of agencies which serve customers in North Georgia, Middle Mississippi, Central and South Florida, and Eastern Tennessee. Their services can be requested nationally via the phone and the internet.

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