Several months ago now (when my writing style was very poor by the looks of things 🙁 ), I wrote a series of articles about identity theft, in which some detailed the benefits of regularly checking your credit report, primarily for early warning signs of fraud and identity theft.
Ironically, however, applying for a credit report can sometimes increase your chances of becoming a victim to one of these crimes.
Scammers and identity thieves
Scammers, thinking outside of the box, have created websites that charge for credit reports (US citizens can claim one free report per year whilst Experian and Equifax in the UK do actually make a nominal charge).
Identity thieves are also in on the act, utilising their own websites and phishing methods to extract personal information and financial data in order to commit the very crimes against you that you are trying to prevent.
So what should you avoid when looking to obtain a credit report?
5 Ways To NOT Lose Your Identity With Credit Reports –
- Never give out credit card details when requesting a free report (some sites will give you a free report then bill you for future ones)
- Do not get conned into buying something else in return for receiving a free credit report
- Never follow emailed links to free credit report sites
- Do not search for credit report sites through the search engines (many bogus sites deliberately choose domain names that look very much like legitimate companies and even outrank them in the search results)
- Never request a free credit report via any pop-up adverts
Instead, visit trusted sites, such as Experian and Equifax, or contact them via the telephone.
Organised gangs and clever individuals use many means to commit identity theft – make sure the availability and accessibility of credit reports works in your favour, not theirs.