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03/01/2005 Archived Entry: "Be careful when requesting your free credit report"

TODAY'S THE DAY FOLKS IN THE MIDWEST QUALIFY TO RECEIVE FREE COPIES OF THEIR CREDIT REPORTS. Westerners have already been able to get free reports, under federal law, since December. East and South join the party later this year.

But the Privacy Rights Clearing House and World Privacy Forum say "Call, Don't Click". Sunni Maravillosa further recommends that you snail, don't phone.

Turns out that not only have phishers and marketers registered domain names almost identical to the real annualcreditreport.com. But the credit reporting agencies themselves have created sites that nudge mis-typing visitors toward their commercial products. They're also using their sites to collect marketing info on you.

Like most people, I'm curious to know what, if anything, these info-stealing scum have on me. Not much, I expect. And mostly wrong or misleading, if I've done my work well. Since you have to supply all kinds of snoopy information, including SSN, to find out what snoopy info they already have, the mystery will just have to remain a mystery to me.

For the same reason, I've never FOIA'd for my FBI dossier, curious though I am.

FOIA's a joke, anyhow. The only time I ever FOIA'd for anything (from the FBI, the BATF, and the U.S. Marshal's Service) was 12 years ago. Haven't received a thing yet, except one notice from the FBI saying they were responding within 30 days because the law required them to respond within 30 days. Or something like that. Persistence, patience, and a heap of money is often required to get FOIA to work. Wasn't worth my while -- which is, of course, exactly what the FOIA-evading fed agencies count on.

Let's hope the annual credit report thing doesn't turn into quite such a scam. If you're willing to supply your snoop info to the professional snoops, at least getting free credit reports from each of the three companies could be one way of making sure they pay a small price for the deeds they're committing against your privacy.

Posted by Claire @ 07:48 AM CST

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