Fake Credit Report Sites: Cashing in on Your Personal Information

You may have seen Web sites or received unsolicited email offering credit reports, sometimes for free. Be aware that some of these online operators may not actually provide credit reports, but may be using these sites as a way to capture your personal information. From there, they may sell your information to others who may use it commit fraud, including identity theft.

This is a variation on "phishing," also called "carding," a high-tech scam that uses spam or fraudulent Web sites to deceive consumers into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, urges you to take the following precautions when visiting sites or responding to email that offer credit reports:

For More Information and to Complain

For a copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus, contact:

Consumers also can call their local office of the Secret Service.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

September 2003