June 29, 2018
A Warning About Credit Report Websites
Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — annualcreditreport.com. Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
Some credit report websites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.
Annualcreditreport.com and the nationwide credit reporting companies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It’s probably a scam. Forward any such email to the FTC at email@example.com.
Prevent Identify Theft
Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling. Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information. Often, identity thieves will use another person’s personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans. They may obtain this information by:
- Stealing wallets that contain personal identification information and credit cards.
- Stealing credit union statements from the mail.
- Diverting mail from its intended recipients by submitting a change of address form.
- Rummaging through trash for personal data.
- Stealing personal identification information from workplace records.
- Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.
Click here to view further information.
Federal Trade Commission
Student Loan Scams Alert
Please read this alert from the FTC if you have student loans and considering assistance in managing the debt.
Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams. Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:
- Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt. Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give your money back.
- Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
- A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
- Don’t share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.
You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.
Federal Trade Commission
How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to do it: know who you share information with; store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
Click here to visit the FTC website for further information.