Thursday, January 03, 2008

Got Your Free Credit Report?

Take Care Where You Order Credit Reports

LABELLE, FL.-- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is encouraging Floridians to get their free annual credit report at the only official source for free annual reports,

Attorney General McCollum says "With reports of data thefts on the rise, I encourage all Floridians to regularly review their credit reports and bank and credit card statements carefully to detect fraudulent charges or accounts."

Consumers have the option of ordering one comprehensive report or one report from each company, although authorities recommend spacing the reports out every four months. Reports are also available by phone at 1-877-322-8228.

Last year, the loss or theft of personal data such as credit-card and Social Security numbers soared to unprecedented levels. Major incidents in 2007 included a breach at TJX Companies, Inc. that compromised millions of personal records, lost data disks with bank account numbers in Britain, a hacker attack of a U.S.-based online broker's database and a scam that unveiled resume contact information from a U.S. online jobs site.

The Attorney General also warned that many of the credit report offers available online are often far from being free of charge. Numerous websites offer reports or credit scores that are tied to offers of credit monitoring and/or other services. These offers often require payment and the consumer is usually unaware that he or she is paying for a service.

Additionally, many websites offer trial memberships that require consumers to cancel within 30 days or they will be charged a monthly fee. Should consumers choose to enroll in a credit monitoring service, the Attorney General recommends documenting telephone calls when canceling subscriptions and follow up in writing when they choose to cancel.

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