Friday, February 20, 2009

Dangerous new definition of "FREE"

My friends, there's always someone out there who will lie to you. Because I thought you should know, here's this from BoingBoing:

When is a free credit report not a free credit report? When it's from

I wrote an article for on my idiotic blunder of signing up with In short, don't go there. If you want a truly free credit report use, not
I clicked on the large bright orange button that said "Get your Free Credit Report & Score!" and was presented with a form. I filled it out. I hesitated for a second when the site asked for my credit card number, which it stated was "required to establish your account," but the site assured me that my "credit card will not be charged during the free trial period." Having done this before (or so I thought), I went ahead and entered the information. A shopping cart receipt indicated that the total was $0.00.

I got my credit report, looked it over, and forgot about it. A week later I was looking at my checking account register online and I noticed a $14.95 charge from a company called CIC*Triple Advantage. I didn't recall buying anything from a company with that name, so I entered "CIC*Triple Advantage" into Google. The search results made my eyes bug out of my head. This was the name of the billing entity for The thousands of search results were full of words like "deceptive practices," "scam," "ripoff," "unauthorized billing!" and "beware!" In fact, all the top results were either from people complaining that they'd been conned into signing up for a $14.95 monthly credit monitoring service without their permission, or they were about how to cancel the service.

When is a free credit report not a free credit report? When it's from

Disclaimer: I can't verify from personal experience what FCR does, but I do know that entering into Google brings up a lot more warnings than accolades. It's smart to learn from your experiences, but wise to learn from someone else's.