Is Ripping You Off

Due to the enormous impact that credit reports have on the ability of an individual to get a loan, the United States government has made it possible for every citizen to obtain a free copy of their credit report every twelve months. This free credit report was given a great deal of attention over the past few years, and thus many people are at least peripherally aware of the ability to get a free credit report. is advertising heavily on television lately, promising to give you this free credit report just by visiting their site. This seems appropriate, right? After all, everyone gets a free credit report… so we just go to and get it…


Instead of giving you the free credit report that is promised by the FTC, actually requires you to sign up for a program called Triple Advantage, a credit monitoring program that costs $12.95 a month. This service merely emails you if there is a change to your credit report at a very hefty cost, particularly when the government gives you a credit report for free every year. Don’t like that option? Well, you could instead just pay Experian $14.95 to give you your credit report instead … or, even better, pay $40 and get your report from all three credit agencies.

If you just want to see your credit report, don’t visit unless you want to pay for something that the FTC has already guaranteed you for free.

So how do I actually get my free credit report? Take a peek at the FTC’s page on the topic. The actual place to go for the free credit report from the federal government is This is the only site that will actually be able to give you your report without either allowing others to have access to the report or being required to buy other products.

Interestingly, this information is actually stated on the front page of, but it’s done in tiny blue text on a blue background that makes it almost impossible to read. Coincidence? What do you think?

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.