Tuesday, November 03, 2009

FTC not amused by "free credit report" services


Ron Lieber has a not-so-amusing front page story in the Tuesday Nov. 3, 2008 New York Times, in a series called “The Card Game: Playing Off Anxiety.” It is titled “A free credit report score followed by a monthly bill”. The link is here.

Experian’s “Free Credit Report” (link) offers the Experian Plus score, not used by lenders (the FICO score is the lending industry standard), and requires signing up for monthly monitoring for a fee. It’s true that the monitoring would help some consumers catch identity theft. But the Federal Trade Commission is, according to Lieber, is not “amused” at the Free Credit Report TV spots, that show “slackers” forced or "demoted" into the life of the proletariat (demoted from the bourgeoisie) because criminals stole their identities. The young men in Pirate waiter gear and playing guitars are attractive enough, and fit the visual stereotypes of who would look good in a gay country and western disco (like Remington’s in Washington or the RoundUp in Dallas).

The government’s mandated report service is actually called “Annual Credit Report” (link) and the government has actually offered a spoof of the Free Credit Report commercial.

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