As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

FreeCreditReport.com is a Scam!

This article was written by in Consumer. 332 comments.

Updated: Get Out of FreeCreditReport.com’s “Triple Advantage”.

This isn’t the first time, but now the State of Florida Office of the Attorney General is investigating FreeCreditReport.com. You’ll notice I don’t link to the site. This site, run by credit reporting agency Experian is taking advantage of the ruling that anyone can receive a free annual credit report from each of the three major agencies.

FreeCreditReport.com is not the website that offers free credit reports in conjunction with this directive. It’s misleading, and here’s the fine print on the site:

When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 30-day trial period, you will be billed $12.95 for each month that you continue your membership. If you are not satisfied, you can cancel at any time to discontinue the membership and stop the monthly billing; however, you will not be eligible for a pro-rated refund of your current month’s paid membership fee.

FreeCreditReport.com has been investigated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and has been required to pay a significant penalty. However, they apparently have been allowed to keep operating.

The only way to get your free annual credit report is by going through AnnualCreditReport.com. To check your credit score for free at any point, you can use Credit Karma.

If you have already exhausted your free annual report, you can sign-up for a 7-day free trial at GoFreeCredit.com. You’ll receive three credit scores and well as three credit reports (with an easy option to cancel if you choose not to keep the trial membership), access to your scores each month and daily credit monitoring to help protect your Identity and Credit.

Hat tip to Red Tape Chronicles for the news about the Florida AG investigation.

Updated October 16, 2015 and originally published November 16, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

Email Email Print Print
About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 332 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andrew

I caught up to them the first month they started bilking me, cancelled immediately no,charge

Reply to this comment

avatar Mimi

Various consumer laws REQUIRE that all laguage regarding opting-in to an offer or buying a service online REQUIRES the notice of that and the charges to be CLEARLY and CONSPICUOUSLY posted on the same page of the web site where the person is sgning up.

I have owned an advertising & marketing company for 30 years and have had many, many attorneys opine on this in order to keep our clients in compliance. Moreover, one of our services is direct marketing data sales (i.e. MAILING LISTS). Guess who one of the very largest suppliers of direct marketing consumer data (mailing lists) is? You guessed it — EXPERIAN (Equifax siold their unit to epsilon Data).

This is classic Bait & Switch and if there is not already a class action lawsuit about it, you can bet there will be.

Other laws that come into play are based on a liklihood that a significant number of consumers might become confused about the terms based on overall advertising, etc. As the FREE credit report jingle sounds in our heads with visions of the seafood waiter abounding, consumers think they already understand the terms–right down to the name FREE Credit Report.

It is also a violation of various consumer laws to charge for something that has no real value. Because one can get their annual credit report FREE with no strings attached, this is a valuless service. Moreover, it is deceptive in that it also appears to deliberately fool consumers into believing that this is the site publicized where one can get their free annual credit report.

More FTC fines and class actions are sure to follow.

As to those who say they find value in the 3-bureau reports, you can sign-up for those with a quick Google search on many sites as well as the 3 main credit bureaus. there is and was no excuse for duping anyone into it.

a lot of people DON’T read the fine print or have a low reading level or are not fluent in English. It is for all these reasons that the onus is on the SELLER/ADVERTISER not the consumer in such cases!

Reply to this comment

avatar Mimi

Oh and by the way–i CANCELLED my FREE (NOT) Credit Report within 24 hours of signing up for it which any reasonable person would assume would have cancelled the “upgrade”. How can you have an “upgrade” to a service you cancelled?

Reply to this comment

avatar Keisha

My husband and I had our debit card # stolen and decided to check our credit to be sure that was all that was compromised. We had to run our names separately so we used freecreditreport.com. We opted for the free week trial. I got the reports on November 26 and Cancelled them exactly a week later on December 3. We were charged $21 each b/c that is technically 8 days, not 7. Even though it is a week. When I called I was told that the day we get them is considered day 1 so I was one day late in canceling the accounts. This free trial is a scam and it ended up costing us $42 for something that was advertised as free. I am very disgusted with this service and will not be using it again and hope no one else will fall for it.

Reply to this comment

avatar purplelyndy

They scammed me, too. I went to their site but when I tried to close the window, they kept my information and billed me again and again. Is there any hope of getting my money back? Why did I bother to ask, I know I’ll never see the money again, but I will do anything within the law to shut them down. When I called, I was put on hold while waiting for the “escalation” department, and this was just another of their scams; I was on hold for 45 minutes the first time, 40 minutes the second time. What bastards! I hope their parents disinherit them–they must be ashamed to have turned out such creeps.

Reply to this comment

avatar Rob L

I was taken in with the promise of three credit scores for one dollar. I understood the one dollar to be a trial when signing up , and would not even have minded paying a month or two for the full service after the 1 dollar trial. My complaint is that I unknowingly clicked on a link for three credit REPORTS not scores. I scanned my bill and found an unwanted charge tied to the triple credit report.

After calling them ( funny how these companies can take your money online 24×7 to subscribe but you need to call during business ) they were quick to reverese the 33.00 charge but put up a valiant struggle to let me cancel my account. Lets just say I needed to be firm and to the point.

Experian in my mind is a brand that is not trustworthy, which is too bad because they hold so much of our critical data.

Reply to this comment

avatar R Payne

freecreditreport com IS A SCAM. They DO NOT provide the services they tout. They take more than the 1.00 fee discussed. 32.95 plus 1.00 and YOU DO NOT GET your 3 credit report scores or reports. They are liars and frauds.

Reply to this comment

avatar R Payne

IT IS A SCAM. They are liars and frauds.Period

Reply to this comment

avatar Lyndy Lindgren

I got taken by this same company for 4 months. I consider myself now well-educated and do not open unsolicited emails, and stick with Karma. Called them a couple of times and left messages questioning their legitimacy and asking if having a small penis contributed to their desire to scam people. No response, of course. But they’ve gotta be close to the worst scammers. There’s gotta be a special place in hell for people like them.

Reply to this comment

avatar jamie

Yup this is a scam.
You the the $1 deal and then hope you get to see your report in time to cancel within the 7 days and if you want to cancel, good luck getting them to answer the phone I called 3 times all a minimum of a 30 to 45 min wait to get them to even answer. the 1st 2 times i called i just didn’t have time to continue waiting. Finally got them to answer the day after i was at the 7 days. Then I was charged a 17.90 something when originally i thought that it was 14.95. Never mind they have to verify everything to give you a credit score but don’t have the decency to send you an email a end date for your 7 day trial. As well as they certainly don’t send an email to let you know that you have been charged. Then the sales technique on the phone of oh you want to cancel here lets do this for 9.99 a month well if you can go that low why isn’t that in the first place. Its all just a scam they didn’t use to be this bad but, I will never again do this. What a waste of 18.00 bucks! Trust me you have better use for your money.

Reply to this comment

avatar Tggaulien

Cancel your credit card by reporting it stolen.. Your credit card company will send you a new credit card with a new account number….Problem solved

Reply to this comment

avatar susie2219

if creditreport.com said they cancelled your membership, but havent, does that mean they still have your SSN, mother’s maiden name, and all your information on file forever?

cancelling your credit card will stop the illegal transactions, but what about identity theft? the company can easily sell your personal information, no? this is so scary….. there’s truly not a way to know if your personal information is erased from their system.

Reply to this comment

avatar bruce algier, sr.

that is not true. i was told by my credit card company that any “recurring charges” are automatically given the new number on your credit card. i guess you would have to get a new card from another conpany and cancel you current credit card to stop them.

Reply to this comment

avatar Fred Lofton

Ok, first off these are not “illegal transactions” since you agreed to the terms and conditions on the site when you signed up. Just like everyone else did.
Secondly, these people are actually in the business of protecting your identity. Do you not understand what the actual service you signed up for covers? Alerts to key changes in your credit report so you can make sure no one is using you identity illegally. Fraud resolution if somehow your identity is stolen. A $1 million guarantee against identity theft that covers any out of pocket expenses. Unlimited access to your Experian credit report and score.
Seriously, do your homework before making incorrect assumptions about a company.

Reply to this comment

avatar Cody Frett

Fred Lofton I cannot even begin to imagine why your view is trolling this site to begin with. These people are among a very large percentage of FreeCreditReport.com users who were deceived by bait/switch techniques. Your concepts and comparisons are completely jaded. Name me an Insurance company that offers a free quote for service, then bills you for the policy they quoted you for pointing to the fine print of the free quote offered. If there is one they are probably already tied up in litigation. Like many bankers and brokers you also seem to assume that if their is legal room for an action, that that action is morally unobjectionable and all violated by ethics should quit their complaining. Avenues such as this site expose such companies for their practices and can evoke change in laws and/or restrictions. You also mock these people for wanting something for free, when that was the offer given to them from this company in the first place. As if expecting a free credit report in the first place was absurd when this service IS a free service via annualcreditreport, and acknowledged by the FTC. This company has long known about the large percentage of people that have “misinterpreted” their offer and have done nothing to change their process to correct this. But go ahead, defend these practices and belittle these consumers.

Reply to this comment

avatar Amy

It is NOT a scam! I have to agree with Fred. This is the reason, I signed up. I get a notice when my score goes up or down, or if someone is looking at my score. It is all for my protection. It was all stated in the terms and conditions. I’m currious how many of you just scrolled down and clicked Yes, I agree with the terms? If you have to leave your credit card number, you need to read everything. I also get an monthly email and it shows up on my banking statement. I can’t even imagine how it could have gone unnoticed for 7 months as mentioned above, when I was notified two different ways. Your credit score is serious, you need to pay attentention to details.

Reply to this comment

avatar Rockage

Fred, I am a Director in a well-known advertising company in Manhattan. I promise you, if you knew how much they were spending on those commercials… you wouldn’t be so quick to defend them. I am an educated professional and I was tricked by their tactics. They are misleading at the least. See my story on this blog. We would never have knowingly paid $62 to see our credit reports. They very purposely use trickery and play with words to trick people into being charged. Then, they don’t even confirm the charge like they do with the one dollar trial. People don’t find out about the $29.95 charge until they see it on their bank statements. This is classic scamming, they just put in fine print to get around it. Eventually, the truth will come out… you will see.

Reply to this comment

avatar Sarah

Fred, you are so wrong!!! They are not in the business of protecting your identity. I requested a report only to have my credit card company call to tell me that Experian allowed at least 11 unknown individuals to use my credit card info to access my credit report. I ended up on a conference call with Experian and my credit card company and this is how we got to the bottom of this. This is everyone’s worst nightmare. Shouldn’t a red flag go off somewhere with these folks if the same credit card is being used to access the same credit report many times in the same day?! Why would anyone create a membership for themself 11 times!

Reply to this comment

avatar Fred Lofton

So the fact that it clearly states on the website and commercials that you receive a report WITH enrollment in Triple Advantage, these people are completely unaccountable for signing up and not reading the terms and conditions? The majority of people on THIS site are the same people that sign up for the “free” iPad/laptop/Xbox360/etc…. websites because they are leeches. But you go ahead and defend their ignorance and failure to take responsibility for their actions.

Reply to this comment

avatar Danny M. Board

you must be affiliated with this scam.

Reply to this comment

avatar SS

Fred, the notifications of the recurring membership fee have not always been stated clearly on the website, and were at one time hidden deep in about 20 pages of legalese. After being sued and fined multiple times, they were forced to put these notifications on their website. If their intent was not to scam people out of ~$20 a month, they would have made these clearly visible and obvious to begin with. In addition, the “credit score” they provide has no legal value whatsoever; it is not a FICO score and can’t be used outside of Experion and it’s subsidiary companies, making it utterly without value. I personally never even signed up for a credit report from this company; all I did was provide my information to begin the process until I realized they would charge me a membership fee, but they continued to charge my account for $17.99 every month until I had them blocked, despite having cancelled the membership multiple times. After an argument with a representative, I was placed on hold for 4 hours to reach the disputes department, so I could attempt to get my money back. The bottom line being that a non-FICO score is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS, and their advertising is misleading at best, fraudulent at worst, and was changed after a successful lawsuit was filed against the company.

Reply to this comment

avatar Christine Rogan
avatar Rockage

You are missing the point. Your positive experience is because you willingly signed up for the service. The trickery is in the bait & switch tactics used to get people who can not afford the service to sign up for the one dollar trial, go through the whole approval process, then click on “view my reports”. These people cancel within the 7 day trial period but are unknowingly charged an additional $29.95 for viewing their reports. There’s some fine print that most people miss, so they don’t have to refund the charge. It’s a win/win scenario for Experian and if nothing else, an immoral practice against the American people who are no doubt funding their outlandish advertising budget.

Reply to this comment

avatar Matt Quinn

Okay, so you’re happy with the service. But I defy you to come back and say you’re still happy once you try to cancel.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Note: Use your name or a unique handle, not the name of a website or business. No deep links or business URLs are allowed. Spam, including promotional linking to a company website, will be deleted. By submitting your comment you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.