Unknown to most Americans is the passage of an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that Congress passed into law in 2004. This change in law now allows every U.S. citizen to obtain one free copy of their credit report from each of the three main reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax) once per year. In order to avoid a crush of traffic to the official free credit report Website, the plan is being rolled out in stages.
Those living in the West, Midwest and South can obtain copies of their reports now; those in the Northeast will have to wait until September 2005. Those who are seeking a copy of their free credit report should be careful, though. While there is an official Website for the free credit reports, other Websites are also offering them for "free" but those who visit those sites may find that what is promised is not what is delivered. And the price could be steep.
Obtaining a copy of your credit report through the official Website is easy, and takes only a few minutes. Applicants need only provide their name, address, Social Security number and date of birth. It's a fairly simple process, but there are many companies, some legitimate and some rather unscrupulous, who would like to obtain such information for other purposes.
As a result, scams are flourishing throughout the Internet as people flock to Websites to obtain their "free" credit report.
Some of these companies have built Websites that look very similar to the official one and may even have similar Web addresses. What they offer is said to be free, but they are really only interested in stealing your name, date of birth and Social Security number. With this information, they can steal your identity and proceed to run up huge amounts of debt in your name.
A change in the Federal bankruptcy law that takes effect in October 2005 will hold everyone responsible for their debt, even if it is incurred by someone using a stolen identity. Other companies solicit business by e-mail, offering free information, but these are usually "phishing" expeditions, where the senders of the e-mail are only interested in having you reply by providing your sensitive personal information. The end result of the phishing trips is a stolen identity.
One company is currently being investigated by the FTC for fraud. They promised a "free" report, but required a credit card number for purposes of "verification." Customers were astonished to receive credit card bills for as much as $75 for their "free" product!
These scams can easily be avoided. It is a rare occasion when you receive something for nothing, but you can receive one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three main bureaus simply (and only) by visiting the official Website.
Copyright 2004 Leadsandtraffic.com
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com
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