Your credit report is an important document that can affect not only your ability to get a loan, but even your ability to get a job, an apartment or insurance.  Indications of identity theft often first turn up on your credit report where you can find out if someone has used your name to commit financial crimes which is why it is very important to regularly monitor your credit report.  Federal law has long provided for you to be able to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies annually.  This is an important thing for everyone to do to make sure their credit report is accurate and that you have not become a victim of identity theft which is often first noticed on your credit report.  Last May in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion agreed to provide weekly free credit reports to everyone through April of 2021, but now the three major credit reporting agencies have all agreed to extend the date for providing free weekly credit reports until April 20, 2022.

Scammers use the free credit report law to scam you in two ways.  “Legitimate” companies may offer you a free credit report, but if you read the fine print, you will learn that you also have signed up for services that you may not wish to have that the companies charge you for each month.  Scammers also set up realistic looking websites that appear to offer a free credit report, but when you input the necessary information to obtain your free credit report, such as your Social Security number, you actually are providing it to an identity thief who uses the information to steal your identity.

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Criminals often flunked grammar so one thing to look for to determine if you are on the legitimate website to obtain your free credit report is to look for misspellings and grammatical errors that scammers often make.  Although the domain names for websites offering what appear to be free credit reports appear to be legitimate, the actual and only official free credit report website address where you can now get your free weekly credit reports through April of 2022 is https://www.annualcreditreport.com

I urge you to get your free credit reports and review them regularly.  If you find an error or misinformation of any kind on your credit report, you should contact the credit reporting agency immediately, dispute the misinformation and request an investigation.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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