Now that everyone is so obsessed with their credit reports and FICO scores, credit monitoring services have popped up everywhere. For a modest recurring fee–one that easily adds up to over $100 a year–you can have a company constantly watch your credit report and alert you of any changes in it, so you can always be on top of your creditworthiness. But should you bother? The consumer director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups federation (U.S. PIRG) tells BusinessWeek that credit monitoring is a “protection racket” that turns people into “financial hypochondriacs… who are scared of their own financial shadows.”
As we’ve said repeatedly, AnnualCreditReport.com is the good website to go to when you need to pull a credit report, because it’s actually free. The others, including freecreditreport.com, use the promise of free the way an angler fish uses its forehead-worm-thing to trap dumb little fish. The FTC has decided to fight fire with fire by releasing its own jingles. To be honest, we’re not 100% sold on them—they have kind of a squaresville, PBS vibe, which is gonna really hamper their viral power. Check them out below.
Here it is folks, your semi-annual reminder that FreeCreditReport is not free. Free credit reports can be found at AnnualCreditReport.com. FreeCreditReport.com is a pay site. As in you will be billed. As in not free.
The rip-off site “freecreditreport.com” has a new competitor, and it’s running fear-mongering spots on the “we’ll air any commercial” cable nets (by which we mean G4). Freetriplescore.com warns you that your credit score can keep you from getting a job! But they’ll give you you “free” scores from the big three credit reporting agencies if you sign up for their $30 per month membership plan. Remember, the only “free” credit report website you should ever use is AnnualCreditReport.com. For free credit scores, on the other hand, check out Ben’s post.
You’d think a credit monitoring service—even one as skeevy as freecreditreport.com—would take great pains to keep up the appearance of security and confidentiality. You’d be wrong. When Brian called to cancel their service he was asked to call out his social security number and his mother’s maiden name, even though it turned out they could easily access his account and cancel his service with only his phone number and birthday. Oh, and the first CSR hung up on him, but (sadly) that’s not really very newsworthy anymore.
AOL apparently missed our post on how the Florida Attorney General is investigating FreeCreditReport.com.