January 26, 2006 – A new FDIC on-line tool was released to help educate consumers how to better protect their computers and themselves from identity theft, and steps to take if they have been victimized. The presentation: Don’t Be an On-Line Victim: How to Guard Against Internet Thieves and Electronic Scams is on the FDIC’s website.
What is Annual Credit Report.com?
Annual Credit Report.com is the ONLY authorized source for the FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT that’s yours by law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – every 12 months. Click on the link below to access your report. Remember, you’re only entitled to one annual free report. Additional reports are available, but for a fee.
If you do not wish to use the online link above to order your credit report, you may also call 1-877-322-8228 to request your report. The form can also be found on the back of the Annual Credit Report brochure you will receive by calling 1-877-322-8228. Or you can print it from ftc.gov/credit. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and by sending mail to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
A Warning About “Imposter” Websites
Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — annualcreditreport.com. Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
Some “imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell annualcreditreport.com in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.
Annualcreditreport.com and the nationwide consumer reporting companies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It’s probably a scam. Forward any such email to the FTC at email@example.com
Protect Your Identity
Preventing identity theft and the resulting fraud is one of the largest challenges we face today. While retailers and financial institutions have instituted many security measures for your protection as you conduct transactions, there are equally as many things you must do as a consumer as well. The FDIC provides tools and tips regarding Identity Theft. We encourage you to study what you can do to help keep your identity your own.