Getting your free credit report can be frustrating, costly, and downright harmful - find out how to avoid being ripped off: Internet ScamBusters #216
We have two articles in today's ScamBusters issue:
- Read This Before Saying "Yes" to a Free Credit Report
- Iraqi Dinar Scam: What To Know Before You Consider Buying Iraqi Currency
Time to get going...
Read This Before Saying "Yes" to a Free Credit Report
One important step in preventing identity theft is to obtain and examine your free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. However, simply by trying to get your credit report you may be putting yourself at risk.
Unfortunately, fraud, scams, deceptive practices, and identity theft are all common occurrences when you try to obtain your free credit report.
In fact, some credit companies make it almost impossible to receive your free report, others misrepresent their policies, and even worse, many scammers impersonate real credit companies.
Nonetheless, free credit reports are a valuable service in fighting the ever-present threat of identity theft. You have the right to receive a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus.
Obtaining a free credit report enables you to review all of your accounts to make sure that you have first hand knowledge of all the outstanding accounts in your name.
What Problems Are You Likely to Encounter When Trying to Get a Free Credit Report?
Many companies have deceptive and misleading practices. A simple Internet search for 'free credit report' will turn up many sites that claim to offer free reports.
When you visit their site and provide the information necessary to obtain a credit report, often very personal information, you're also asked to enter a credit card number.
If membership isn't cancelled in thirty days, your credit card is charged. This has become such a big problem that the FTC sued several companies for deceptive and misleading practices and has sent warning letters to more than 100 website companies.
Second, free credit report email phishing scams are common. Perpetrators will email an offer for a free credit report. When you follow the link and provide your personal information, you've given the scammers everything they need to assume your identity and obtain credit in your name.
Here Are Five Things You Should NOT Do to Obtain Your Free Credit Report:
- Never follow an email link offering a free credit report.
- Never utilize a search engine to find a free credit reporting company. (Imposters utilize website names that are extremely similar to the real companies.)
- Never give a credit card number for a 'free' credit report.
- Never purchase anything so that you can receive your free credit report.
- Never click on a pop-up ad for a free credit report.
What Should You Do to Obtain Your Free Credit Report?
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com. It's the only website authorized to give free credit reports.
(Yes, we see the irony of giving you a link after just telling you not to click on them for free credit reports. So, you might want to type in the URL instead of just clicking on the link.)
The FTC recommends that you visit only this site for your free credit report.
You can also order your free credit report by phone by calling 877-322-8228. Mail orders can be sent to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105821, Atlanta GA 30348-5281.
To read more about free credit reports and credit reporting scams visit Scambusters' Free Credit Report page.
Iraqi Dinar Scam: What To Know Before You Consider Buying Iraqi Currency
The Iraqi dinar scam is quite popular, but it is certainly not talked about much. Part of the reason is that the Iraqi dinar scam has a grain of truth to it. Below we'll tell you what is and isn't readily known when it comes to buying Iraqi money in the hopes of turning a profit.
The punchline: although this currency is real Iraqi currency (the grain of truth), your chance of actually selling any Iraqi dinars you buy to make a profit is low.
Is the Iraqi Dinar Currency Scam Really a Scam?
Yes and no.
First, let's focus on what is legitimate when it comes to purchasing Iraqi dinars.
The Iraqi Dinar is really Iraqi currency. And, it is possible to buy it like other currencies.
The lure is that for approximately $760 U.S. dollars you can buy Iraqi currency that promoters say could eventually bring you $25K in the exchange rate. That's over 25 times what you invested. So for some, the Iraqi dinar purchase looks like a fast, easy method of making money.
In fact, there are over 1200 eBay auctions going on for the Iraqi dinar as we write this issue.
Currency investors remember that the Kuwaiti dinar, which is now worth about $3.33, plunged to just $0.10 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. These people want to earn these same kinds of returns on the Iraqi dinar.
What's the Bad News with Iraqi Dinars?
Like every get rich quick scheme, there's a catch. In the Iraqi dinar scam, there are quite a few catches, but the most important one is finding a way to cash in your Iraqi money if you do actually make a profit.
Where Does the Scam Part Come In?
It's very difficult to sell Iraqi dinars, other than perhaps on eBay. Dealers who sell Iraqi dinars often don't buy them. Almost no U.S. bank will buy back your Iraqi currency and exchange it for US dollars. In other words, whereas you can BUY Iraqi dinars, it's not easy to SELL them.
In fact, we recommend that if buying Iraqi dinars appeals to you, that you call any bank in your area and see if you could sell Iraqi dinars to them. We suspect you won't find any.
That means you might have to hop on a flight to Iraq and then find a bank there that would be willing to exchange your dinars for U.S. dollars.
The chance of that happening? Probably slim to none.
So is the Iraqi dinar scam a true scam? Yes and no. It's basically the equivalent of playing your state lotto, but with worse odds of winning. Plus, if you try to 'cash in,' you may well have to go halfway around the world rather than your local convenience store or state gaming board.
You can currently buy 1 million Iraqi dinars for well under $1,000 US. Some people have said that owning a million Iraqi dinars has made them feel rich. 😉 Nonetheless, we don't recommend it.
(Please note, though, that we are not giving any financial advice here -- this is simply our opinion of the situation.)
That's a wrap for this issue. Wishing you a great week!