You’ve probably seen the television commercials and had the infectious jingle playing through your head for days. We are serenaded by the words, “Free Credit Report Dot Com!” sung by a guitar-playing trio to their television audience.
The musical threesome that star in these commercials find themselves in a multitude of predicaments – dressed as pirates working in a low-paying tourist restaurant, driving a nearly-defunct ‘junker’ off of a used car lot, or flailing wildly on a rollercoaster ride.
And what is the reason for all of their mishaps and misfortunes? Listening closely to the lyrics of the catchy tunes, we learn their troubles have one simple cause: they haven’t reviewed their credit report.
Each of us should access and review our credit report regularly. The consequences of ignoring our credit report may not be the comical situations portrayed in television commercials, but there are consequences nonetheless.
A credit report is a detailed report of your history with credit, and it is a primary source of information used by creditors to determine whether you’ll be given a loan, or what interest rate you will qualify for. It is also a tool to detect if you’ve been the victim of identity theft or fraud.
The overall message of the commercials is sound – it’s a good idea to get acquainted with our credit report. However, while the television jingle touts a ‘free credit report’, it is far from free. When you visit their website you will learn about a monthly credit monitoring service you will be subscribed to after signing up for the ‘free’ service.
While some companies charge for this service – and obviously, business is going well judging by the amount they can spend on catchy television jingles – there is no reason to pay for your credit report.
In 2003, Congress passed the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act that provides consumers one credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies every twelve months at no cost.
Accessing your free credit report at no cost has been made easy by visiting the website: www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.
Take advantage of this free service and get acquainted with your credit report. And next time you hear the commercial with the catchy “Free Credit Report Dot Com” jingle, just sing along – but don’t follow their advice!