In the modern day of constant commercials and advertisements, many of us have seen the reports and offers for free credit checks and reports. While some of these offers are in fact legitimate, many of them have fine print and strings attached, with some even being outright rip offs. Guarding your credit is vital and handing out information to third parties for your credit score can be a dangerous thing if not done so properly. The following tips will help guide you in the right direction and make sure that you do not make the mistake of falling for a faulty credit report offer.
Watch Out for Imposters
The Federal Trade Commission issued a report that showed evidence of over 130 credit report sites currently in existence that are in fact “scams”; some are fairly legitimate companies that use your information (minus the most sensitive pieces) as a way to make money from other companies which want to be able to contact you about their own separate offers and specials. Others, unfortunately, are pure shams and exist solely to collect all of your information and use it in malicious ways to their advantage.
Use Reputable Entities
One of the easiest ways to avoid the mess and trouble of getting scammed is to always use reputable entities for obtaining your credit score. Establishments such as the Better Business Bureau vet all real credit reporting entities and their site, www.bbb.org, is the best place to start when it comes to finding the perfect credit score agency for you. Other agencies, such as AARP, also provide valuable information and can help direct you in the right direction when it comes to selecting a credit score agency to use.
Don’t Check Your Credit Excessively
If you need to check your credit score, do so only once in a blue moon. There are services you can subscribe to (for a monthly fee) that will monitor your credit and let you know if anything changes, but to request credit checks or reports every month can cause undue harm to your credit. The more often your credit file is “accessed”, the more likely your score is to decrease as a result of credit agencies viewing you as a risk or liability. Only request a credit report once every six months and make sure to avoid having car dealerships and other institutions run your credit excessively by reducing the application of new credit; some agencies will hold on to your information and run credit reports on you after the fact to see if your situation has changed or if you are eligible for any other purchase they may be able to offer.