On Monday, we told you how you can order free credit reports from the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. Yesterday BeSpacific reported on a World Privacy Forum report recommending that consumers call the toll free number (877-322-8228) instead of ordering their free credit reports online.
The World Privacy Forum study revealed a number of problems with the free credit report website, including:
- Only four sites were able to link to the official free credit report site: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. All other sites attempting to link were blocked, requiring users to copy and paste or type in the URL. (The block was lifted Monday after the World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse complained to the FTC.)
- At least 50 imposter web sites, using close misspellings of the official site's URL, annualcreditreport.com, were active and luring unsuspecting consumers to questionable sites. At the time of the report, at least 96 imposter web address domains had been registered.
- Even using the legitimate sites to obtain free credit reports may result in exposure to unwanted marketing, spam and related privacy intrusions, because of a variety of features and differing privacy policies at the main site and the three credit bureau sites.