FTC Warns Websites That Offer ‘Free’ Credit Reports: Disclose Federally Mandated Free Reports or Face Prosecution
The Federal Trade Commission is warning 18 Internet websites offering free credit reports that they must clearly disclose that a free report is available under federal law. The FTC’s recently amended Free Credit Reports Rule, which took effect April 2, 2010, requires certain disclosures to help consumers distinguish between ads for free credit reports that often require them to buy credit monitoring or other services, and the federally mandated no-strings-attached credit reports available at AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228. For example, websites offering free credit reports must have a disclosure, with links to AnnualCreditReport.com and FTC.gov, that appears across the top of each page that mentions free credit reports. Violators are subject to legal action that can result in penalties of up to $3,500 per violation. The Commission vote to publicly disclose the warning letters was 5-0.
Warning letters are being sent to the following:
- National Credit Report.Com LLC – NationalCreditReport.com
- Quinstreet, Inc. – FreeCreditReport4U.com
- MyCreditCenter.Com, Inc. – MyCreditCenter.com, 3CreditReport.com, OnlineFreeCreditReports.com
- Vertrue, Inc. – My3BureauCreditReport.com, FreeScore.com, Free3BureauCreditReport.com, FreeTripleCreditScore.com, FreeOnlineReportNow.com
- ConsumerTrack, Inc. – GoFreeCredit.com, FreeCredit-Reports.net, Free-Credit-Reports-Repair.com
- ConsumerDirect, Inc. – FreeCredit-Report.net, SmartCredit.com
- Mighty Net, Inc. – 3FreeCreditReportsUSA.com
- Amie Nguyen – AllFreeCreditReports.com
- Amanda Raab – FreeCreditReportsUSA.com
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