Scamming The Scam

Just saw a (horribly produced) ad last night for, the latest in a long string piece of crap “free” credit score sites. As Chris Walters noted when he wrote about it, for the most part it’s a ripoff. But maybe there’s a way to pull a fast one of you own and get a free credit score…

In the middle of a chunk of smaller print explainer next to the signup page, you learn that their name should really be FreeTripleScoreForSevenDays. The deal is you get charged $1 to make sure your credit card works, then you get your credit score from all three bureaus. Starting on or after a 7-day trial, you get charged a $29.95 monthly membership fee for continuous access to your credit score.

So if you cancel ahead of time, you really can get your scores for free. They’re of course banking on most people forgetting to cancel. At least then it says you can cancel at any time. I wasn’t able to find any online complaints from people saying they had difficulty canceling. I would still check my credit card bills afterwards to make sure they didn’t somehow forget to stop billing me… anyone who advertises something as “free” when it so very isn’t should not be trusted.

There’s also a few less “dangerous” ways to get a free credit score or something like it. gives you roughly your TransUnion score for free. MyFico offers an estimator as well. Here’s 4 other ways to do it, too.


The important part of the FreeTripleScore text:

To activate your trial membership to Privacy Matters 1-2-3 you will be charged/debited a $1.00 refundable processing fee and then you can immediately take advantage of the exciting savings Privacy Matters 1-2-3 has to offer! After your 7-day FREE trial period it’s just $29.95 per month for Privacy Matters 1-2-3. Remember, you can call Privacy Matters 1-2-3 toll-free at 1-877-993-6264 within the first 7 days to cancel, and you will not be charged/debited.

The ad:

PREVIOUSLY: Will Cost You $30 Per Month


Edit Your Comment

  1. nataku8_e30 says:

    I’m not really sure I would call canceling within the promotional period scamming… Also, I was fairly certain that also has a promotional period like this where you could cancel. They may have changed that in the last 6 months though.

  2. dechko says:

    RUN THE OTHER WAY!I tried to do this and cancel with them . I even recieved a cancellation confirmation email from them. They continued to charge my accournt for a few months(a total of $121) before I realized it.

  3. dakotad555 says:

    A better way to do this would be to use a pre-paid visa card with just a few dollars left on it. You could even buy one for $5.00 (the minimum) which would still be a bargain for a tri-merge credit report.

  4. equazcion says:

    You could also just go to [], the site that credit reporting agencies were required by the government to set up so that people could see their reports for free. You’re entitled to one report, per each of the three major reporting agencies, every year.

  5. jpmoney says:

    Cancel and still enjoy the marketing material you just signed up for! They still win in the end.

    • @jpmoney: You can never be sure you’ll get marketing material. I’ve gone to like 3-4 times over the years and signed up for a new account each time to get a free credit report. Then cancelled immediately when I printed it out. I’ve never received marketing collateral from them. Using old email addresses has probably helped with spam, but I haven’t received anything physical for them.

  6. oldtaku says:

    Sorry, I don’t getting think a ‘free’ credit report is worth giving this kind of scammer your personal and financial information. That’s cutting your nose off to spite your face.

  7. BytheSea says:

    This sounds like a bad idea. If it was this easy to get out of commitments to these kinds of underhanded companies, they wouldn’t still be in business.

    • mike says:

      @BytheSea: I agree. If you need to see your score, buy it from the credit reporting industries.

      If you want it for free, write your reps in DC and have them vote on a bill that would require it!

  8. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    This is how I’ve gotten my credit report for the past 3 years, except with, not this new scammier sounding scammer. Free credit report dot com, as you should know, is actually owned by experian, they have very little incentive (and a lot to lose) by “accidently” billing people who have canceled.

  9. jook says:

    The link that should go to CreditKarma in the OP actually links to something about The same URL as in the next sentence, “MyFico offers an estimator as well.”

  10. sassbrown74 says:

    I just avoid companies that leave a bad taste in my mouth and is one of them. The business is not as some sort of non-profit, so the “free” credit report on the front end is a gimmick. Branding a company around a misleading gimmick is just sleazy. It is like saying, here’s the core of our business, this is what we’re all about. Oh, and btw it’s bs but we have named our company this so it ain’t going away any time soon.

  11. Trencher93 says:

    The best way to get a free credit SCORE(s) (not just the report) is to look at something like a house and have the real-estate agent’s in-house, we-want-your-commission broker pull your score (he’ll give you a free copy) as you run the numbers. No obligation, and you can just say you don’t want the house after all. They want to write your loan so bad that they’re really, really, really nice to you at first. Just get the score printout, and walk away from it. (If you do this OFTEN it pulls your score down a little.)

    • @Trencher93: Quick note, I would say that in the last year or so that only about 50% of brokers now provide credit reports for free, and very few will provide you with a copy. The commissions have shrunk, as have volume, and they are making it up by offering fewer free services then before.

    • @Trencher93: First, some states require that this information be shared with you when shopping for a home. Check your local law. California does this, for example.

      That said, in doing so you are suffering at least one hard pull on each of your credit reports to do this. If the agent or company you go through checks multiple sources, you may suffer multiple hard pulls (which may or may not be combined). This is something you need to be particularly careful about when looking at cars (and what they are probably doing when you test drive after leaving your photo ID with them).

      Those hard pulls hurt your score and indicate to any creditors that you currently have that you are looking for a home (which may or may not matter).

      I would suggest that if you are not actually looking for a home, there’s not much reason to worry about your real FICO score anyway–and certainly no reason to go about paying for it. Instead just make sure your credit reports are accurate.

  12. BrianDaBrain says:

    Is anybody else disturbed that this information, everything that the credit bureaus have and sell to you (including your FICO) is YOUR INFORMATION??? It hardly seems fair, or even legal, that they take all this information, which is technically yours, then charge you to look at it. That would be like the hospital I was born at taking my birth certificate then charging me to use/see it. This information should be free to look at all the time period. Smack whoever came up with the idea of charging people for this crap.

  13. SleepingSheeple says:

    I have been to the official site ( three times over the past year, and each time, I get an fake error message indicating that they cannot give me my free credit report because they cannot “validate security.”

    But the will sell me the report for $14.95.

    Using the same browser session that is supposedly not secure enough for the free report.

    • JN2 says:

      I’ve had the same crap pulled on me from them. If someone is stuck in a burning car wreck, they better not tell me they work for the credit agencies, I’ll sit there and ask them for marshmallows. @SleepingSheeple:

    • Brontide says:

      @SleepingSheeple: Validating security means that you answered the questions correctly from your own credit report. It has nothing to do with what browser you are using.

      If you can’t answer them correctly you really should check your credit. It’s possible that ID theft has already occurred and you can’t answer the questions about credit cards you don’t know about.

    • @SleepingSheeple: Your security validation failure resulted from your failure to properly answer the challenge questions for one of your credit reports. This can be tough as those questions often-times reference loans or mortgages that you may have forgotten details about.

      So before you mess with, get your ducks in a row. And once you have one credit report, keep it handy to answer challenges from other requests.

  14. These are not your real credit scores!

    They are called FAKO scores, which are simply credit scores created in-house (or through a partner) based on a formula intended to simulate a FICO score as closely as possible. The only way to get a real FICO score is through (a division of Fair Isaac, the company behind FICO), or one of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

    Credit Karma also provides a FAKO score.

    So you’re paying for approximated scores, not real scores.

  15. fisherstudios says:

    Wouldn’t it cost them more than $1 just to process the initial $1 transaction and subsequent refund?

    If you defaulted on your automatic service renewal payment for the Privacy Matters 1-2-3 service could they send you to collections?

  16. IssaGoodDay says:

    I did this through once before I knew better. It took me a full 45 minutes on the phone and a “I just want to cancel” mantra through a VERY high-pressure sales pitch before they’d actually let me cancel. I’d recommend against this.

  17. Shawnladd says:

    I have been seeing a lot of these articles about trying to get free credit scores, and I don’t really know the point. Is it bad to NOT know your credit score? Are people willing to go through all this trouble to get a free score just because they’re curious?

    • IssaGoodDay says:


      Knowing your credit score is very helpful when it comes to things like “What are my chances of getting a mortgage?” or “If I want to buy this $25,000 car, could I finance $10,000 of it without too much trouble?” or even if it comes to get a new cell phone contract, how much – if any – deposit you’ll have to pay.

      • Shawnladd says:

        @sourc3: So that’s why checking it often leads to a poorer score? Because the creditors think you keep checking your score because you want to keep getting loans, mortgages, etc.? That makes sense. Thanks.

        • IssaGoodDay says:


          ??? Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but you’re coming across as awful hostile towards someone who was merely trying to ask what appeared to be a genuine question.

          If you’ll re-read my comment, I wasn’t implying that you should check it on a tremendously regular basis, but that it can help to have it ahead of time before going into things like setting up a new cell phone contract, or buying a car.

    • plutonyum says:

      @Shawnladd: Not to mention, checking your reports (not just your score) is a good way to see if there’s any inaccurate info on your report(s), which could be the result of anything from a mistake to identity theft.