Don't Pay for Your Free Annual Credit Report

Advertisements can trick consumers into spending money for extra services.

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The Federal Trade Commission is fighting back against advertisements that trick consumers into spending money on services they don't need or want when they're trying to get their free annual credit report. There is only one site that offers the annual credit report at no charge, and that is www.annualcreditreport.com.

Eileen Harrington, acting director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, says the FTC has received complaints about the website www.freecreditreport.com, which provides credit reports only if customers sign up for additional services that cost money. "Consumers are confused," says Harrington, despite the FTC's lawsuit and settlement with the website that now requires its advertisements to carry disclosures. She wouldn't comment on whether any further enforcement actions were pending.

Check out the FTC's new public service announcement -- do you think it's as catchy as Ed McMahon's rap spot for www.freecreditreport.com, which helped to popularize the site?