Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports, says "If you click on Freecreditreport.com's web site to order your credit report, you're automatically billed $14.95 a month for a credit monitoring service after a free trial. So essentially your free credit report costs you about $180 a year."
The site is just one of many credit report web sites with "free" in their name that are trying to entice consumers. Consumer Reports says avoid them.
"its money you don't have to spend. You're already entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year," says Walker.
To get those, go to www.annualcreditreport.com. It's the only web site where each year you can get free credit reports, no strings attached, from all the three major agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can also call 877-322-8228.
Once you have your credit report, Consumer Reports says check it carefully for accuracy and possible fraud. And notify the credit agency immediately of any errors.
Walker says, "It's a good idea to stagger your requests. You can order one of your reports about every four months. And that way it gives you an opportunity to check up on your credit throughout the year."
And while the song in the commercial is catchy, make sure that credit report you order really is free.