The internet is full of scams. Don’t have any illusions about this; you only need to read through your spam folder to know what I’m talking about. There are just so many scams and deals that are too good to be true floating around on the internet. They are traps for people who aren’t paying attention.
You should probably already know, credit scores impact most aspects of your life – from renting an apartment, getting certain jobs, getting a new credit card, getting an increase in your credit limit and most importantly when you’re buying a house – that’s why it’s extremely important for you to keep in mind these three signs that scammers used to trick you into parting with your money in exchange for “free” credit scores.
1. The use of the word “free”.
Let’s face it: the free lunch has yet to be invented. There is no such thing as “free” in this world; there will always be something in return. So, when you come across a page on the Internet that says there’s a free credit score evaluation or a free credit score report, you should be very skeptical. There might be some tolerable charge or some sort of hassle that they may place that would pay for the “free” credit card score assessment but be on the lookout.
Keep the other tips below in mind because there’s a thin line between an aggressive marketing and an outright scam.
2. Spammy tactics to snag you.
Most credit score scam sites operate using spammy tactics. This means they can get quite creative. For example: At Craigslist, there are many apartment listings and when you call for these apartment listings, they would ask you to fill out, without even seeing you, a credit report assessment.
Because part of the apartment rental process there is normally a request for credit assessment, this is allowed by law; however, when you look up an apartment listing online and you haven’t even showed up to check out the place and they already asked you for a credit assessment that’s a red flag.
Other spammy tactics that should make you extra skeptical are annoying pop-ups, spam-mail or otherwise ads at sketchy or low value websites. Always be alert for these. Normally, responsible ad networks like Google would not run scam sites ads but low quality sites would, so be on the lookout.
3. Credit card page.
This is the most obvious sign that you’re dealing with a scam website, when they hit you up for credit card information. This doesn’t make any sense, because they’re supposed to be offering you the credit score assessment or your credit score report for free. So if you see a credit card page, leave the site immediately.
Other sites will offer you a credit monitoring service for $15 a month and in exchange they will give you your credit score. Well that’s not really free now is it? In fact, at 15 bucks a month it will cost you $180 in a year just to see your scores – far from free.