WPF Resource Page: AnnualCreditReport.com
AnnualCreditReport.com: A federally mandated web site for retrieving free credit reports once each year
U.S. consumers have the right to obtain a free credit report each year from each of the three national credit bureaus, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To do this, consumers can call, mail, or order the reports online at annualcreditreport.com.
The World Privacy Forum has published consumer tips with the ordering information and other information about the free annual credit reports. The free annual credit reports should not be confused with the much-advertised free credit reports that cost money. The federally-mandated free credit reports are actually free.
Consumer Tips for retrieving your free yearly credit reports:
These consumer tips explain how to order the free federally mandated free credit report by phone, mail, and online. Consumers can order one free report from each credit bureau every year.
The simplest way of accessing your free credit report is to either call in for the report. Please see our tips for more information about this and other ways of accessing your credit report.
If you do decide to retrieve your free credit report online, be sure you are at the official www.annualcreditreport.com site. Also, you do not have to pay to receive your free annual credit report. If you are on a site that is asking you to pay for your credit report, double check the spelling of the site, or use the call-in method.
Reports: Call, Don’t Click, a Series of Two Reports on AnnualCreditReport.com
WPF researched and published two reports about problems with the annualcreditreport.com web site after being contacted by consumers who were being misdirected to imposter web sites with domains very similar to annualcreditreport.com. As a result of these two reports, the FTC took numerous enforcement actions, and for many years the scams were reduced.
Summary of findings:
- At least 233 total domains with close or nearly identical spellings of annualcreditreport.com have been purchased. This is an increase from the findings in the first report.
- At least 112 known and confirmed imposter domains were “live,” that is, online and are actively routing consumers away from the official site as of June, 2005. This is an increase of 62 domains from the findings in the first report.
- 21 of the imposter sites posted some form of minimal contact information, such as the ability to fill out a Web form or send an email.
- Many of the imposter domains actively sent consumers to credit bureaus instead of to the official annualcreditreport.com site. This is happening because the pay per click and affiliate marketing issues articulated in the first report are still a substantial problem. When the “live” and “parked” imposter domains send consumers to commercial credit services and some credit bureaus, many of the imposter domains get paid for doing this via “pay per click” online advertising and/or affiliate marketing schemes.
- Four imposter domains forwarded consumers directly to a commercial data broker, Intelius.
- Direct link to the official annualcreditreport.com site: www.annualcreditreport.com
- Federal Trade Commission page on federally mandated free credit reports, includes information about rollout, ways of obtaining report, and a live link to the official annualcreditreport.com site. <http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.htm>
- Federal Trade Commission press release on AnnualCreditReport.com enforcement action (August 16,2005).