Based on the information contained in your credit reports, your credit score can have a significant effect on whether you are granted a loan and at what interest rate, whether you will be hired for a job, whether you will be sold insurance, whether you can rent an apartment or many other purposes. We all have a right to an annual free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, however, your free credit report will not provide you with your credit score. Recently many people are receiving emails with offers to provide a free copy of your credit score. Unfortunately, as with any other email or text message that requires you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number which is required to obtain your credit report or credit score, you cannot be sure that the offer is legitimate. In some instances, companies offering to provide “free” credit reports or scores are actually signing you up for a continuing service that you may not either desire or need. These sites generally ask for your credit card number, but tell you that they only need the credit card number for verification purposes. Of course, that it is a lie. If you were getting something free, you would not need to provide a credit card number. They are getting your number to use it to charge you monthly fees for services that you may not have thought you ordered. Even worse however, are scams in which the company offering to provide you with your free credit score is actually just scamming you in order to get your Social Security number which they will use to make you a victim of identity theft.
As I always say, you cannot trust any email or text message to be legitimate. Never click on links, download attachments or provide personal information in response to unsolicited emails or text messages. The risk is too great. If you want your free credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian, the only place to go is the website www.annualcreditreport.com. It is important to monitor your credit report not just to find evidence of identity theft, but also to find mistakes that may appear on your report that can adversely affect your credit score. As for your credit score, the website www.creditkarma.com is a legitimate website that you can trust, that encrypts your data and provides your credit score for free.