These days it seems that more and more scammers are sitting in a dark closet some where using only a flashlight and seeking an epiphany on how they can “cash in” with a new approach to credit repair, credit monitoring, and promises that your credit report will be absolutely free if you let them handle it. Opening the book of common sense you can’t know what’s in your credit report if you haven’t checked for decades to get an accurate update. No matter where you live free credit repair scam vultures are flying lazy circles overhead waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and destroy your life.
That said let’s attack each “scam or promise” individually so you’ll be able to get a better prospective on what they are and how to avoid them.
1. Free credit reports Scam
The only FREE credit report available to Canadians is from official credit bureaus: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Don’t visit the US Federal Government site annualcreditreport.com or private credit alert sites such as creditkarma or any of the big names you hear about in the news. They are not credit reports for Canadians! If you have recently been denied credit, you can get a FREE report from the same credit bureau the lender used or ask your bank (i.e. Royal bank) for a copy. Note: FICO scores (let’s call it ‘credit scores’ for us Canadians) are not included in these FREE reports but for an additional small fee, they are available. As Canadians, avoid sites that offer 3-in-one reports and most “free credit report” sites you see online. While some do legitimately offer free credit reports, MOST offer services specifically to U.S. Residents.
2. Credit repair scams
There is no legal way to “repair” your credit history. Any person telling you they know a “secret” loophole or shortcut are only looking to empty your purse or wallet. Actually these scammers may even cause you legal problems by insisting you cheat on facts or let them create a new “surefire” file for you. Anything legal that a credit repair specialist says they can do, you can do yourself just as easily without the egregious cost.
3. Phishing scams
This unique form of “credit score scam” is used by many purporting to be from a credit reporting agency, or financial institution where you bank. It comes in the form of an email using fear tactics in an attempt to get you to visit a bogus website that will look genuine and realistic. Once there they will gather personal information including your Social Insurance Number, pin ## and steal you blind.
Look folks, in these troubling times scammers are working overtime to find an easy score. What may seem to be legitimate at the time upon diligent research it is not. Don’t be a victim. One saving grace is locating a reliable credit monitoring service to oversee your credit. Most are affordable and are excellent watchdogs that can eliminate your worries and sleepless nights. Since you’ll be giving out personal information to this service, know who they are, where they are, and investigate. Remember, when dealing with Credit Reports, always double check that you are dealing with a Canadian source. Credit Reports Canada is completely Canadian and we provide information based on Canada only.