A recent news item reports that hackers have been compromising at least two credit report sites: annualcreditreport.com and creditreport.com. And there may be others you shouldn’t visit.
Apparently they’ve found a way to enter these sites (and others) and steal credit information, which they then sell.
We’re told that a middling credit score (680) sells for around $40, while a higher credit score (740) sells for about $80. You can imagine how many stolen credit reports they have to sell to keep up their supply of cheap beer and meth.
There’s a dirty little secret here that everyone should know about. There is only one legitimate site (www.annualcreditreport.com) where you can get your credit report for free. The rest of these sites are bogus profiteers that have cleverly designed their site names and their interaction with search engines like Google so they show up when you try to find the free site.
And when you click on the link to one of them, you discover that they want to charge you for the credit report! They rely on the fact that most people, after a few tries at finding the free site, give up in disgust and pay the $5 to get what should be a free report.
Once you get the “free” report, (and assuming your information hasn’t found its way into the clutches of the evil hackers), what have you got? Not much. In particular, you don’t get any credit scores. Nope. Not even one. All you get is a lot of verbiage. The only way you can get an actual credit score is when your banker or mortgage lender orders the report on your behalf.
My advice? Don’t get your credit report from someone who advertises on the internet or on TV. You wouldn’t choose a brain surgeon on this basis, so why entrust your social security number and the safety of your credit information to someone who you don’t know and have no reason to trust?
Have your credit checked by your lender if you want to see your credit scores. At about $20, it’s a safe and low cost approach. And if you don’t need the credit scores, and want to wade through the verbiage? Go to www.annualcreditreport.com