The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to 18 websites who have not clearly disclosed that a free credit report is available through federal law.
The websites are currently in violation of the CARD Act, which says that all companies and websites offering credit reports must put a disclaimer on their homepages that links back to the federally mandated no-strings-attached website AnnualCreditReport.com. They must also indicate that AnnualCreditReport.com can be reached by calling 877-322-8228.
The rule went into effect on April 2. However, many existing sites have been slow on the uptake, despite the fact that the violation carries a $3,500 fine. Last week, the FTC voted to publicly disclose the warning letters, though they make no mention of why a warning was issued instead of a direct fine.
An amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, this section of the CARD Act was enacted after several companies used the “free credit report” gimmick to get consumers to inadvertently sign up for a not-so-free credit monitoring system.
The 18 websites who received a warning, according to the FTC’s press release are:
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