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Free vs. Scam Credit Reports

Beginning March 1, 2005, consumers living in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, can order their free credit report from a central Web site, central toll-free telephone number or a central mailing address. The three major Credit Reporting Agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union), have partnered together to provide this annual credit report at no cost to the consumer.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the nation's consumer protection agency, strongly urges consumers to take precautions when visiting Web sites and responding to emails that may offer credit reports.

The only authorized online source for your free annual credit report is: www.annualcreditreport.com

There are fraudulent Web sites to deceive consumers into disclosing their credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords and other sensitive information. These fraudulent Web sites may often look like the real web site or address but if you look a little closer you may notice one or two letters mixed up in the web address or something similar, still making the web site/address appear legitimate.

NOTE: The three major Credit Reporting Agencies will NOT send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email or see a pop-up ad claiming it's from www.annualcreditreport.com or any consumer reporting agency, DO NOT reply or click on any link in the message - it's probably a scam. DO NOT get directed to a different web site. Exit any Web site that asks for personal information. The important thing to remember is that you should be the one to initiate transactions or business where you are giving out personal identifying information, whether it is for a free credit report or any other transaction.

The same situation applies if you should receive a telephone call or request in the mail. DO NOT reply. The three Credit Reporting Agencies will not call you or solicit you for your personal information. Shred any unsolicited mailings you receive.

The central authorized toll-free number to request your credit report is:


Hang up on any phone solicitation that asks for personal information.

The central authorized address to send your Annual Credit Report Request Form is:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. 0. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Copies of the authorized request form are available at Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank at the Waukon or Decorah offices or by printing it from the web at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf

Find the latest news about consumer protection at: www.ftc.gov