FreeCreditReport.com: Free?

I recently got a collections notice for an account I never had. Apparently, somebody else with my name stiffed Duke Energy for $141; Duke turned the account over to collections and the agency apparently got my name and address from the phone book, as I never lived at the service address! Nor have I ever heard of the car lot I supposedly ran. 🙂

Thinking this may be an instance of identity theft, I went to FreeCreditReport.com (the one with the “pirate hat” commercials). It asked for a credit card during my request for my free credit report, and I thought “what?” That just proves you have to read the fine print; that site does not charge you for your credit report but it will sign you up for a credit monitoring service. You have to call within 9 days to cancel the service or they will charge your card for the amount. So it appears that “free” is not really free.

I have a problem with things claiming to be free that actually aren’t. I’m a huge Linux fan (a “linux munky”, you might say! *laughs!*) and I’m used to downloading free programs for Linux. However, try to find a free program for Windows online and many of them will say “free” but the program must be registered and/or purchased before it will work. Only the download itself is free; the program is not. I think websites should be more clear about what exactly is free. 🙂

Incidentally, I ended up getting my credit report from annualcreditreport.com. It really is free. 🙂