En español | You've probably seen the ads and websites: Mistakes on your credit report can cost you thousands! Check your credit report for free!
Only it's not really free. You need to give your credit card number and sign up for a free trial membership. Don't cancel, and you're stuck with a monthly fee.
But canceling's not always so easy, says Anaiboni Torres, 41: "I called and they didn't answer." He finally got through — but had to pay for one month. He's lucky. If he hadn't noticed the charge on his credit card statement, he could have paid much more. Others have.
Instead, says Cena Valladolid, of Consumer Credit Counseling Service, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-322-8228. You're allowed one free report a year from the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Request one report from a different bureau every four months, and you're covered for a year. If you do get scammed, contact the Federal Trade Commission.