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FreeCreditReport.com Wins 1,017 Domains By UDRP 184

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-even-a-finders-fee dept.
typosquatting writes to mention that the largest domain dispute case since the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was enacted ten years ago has been decided. The decision saw 1,017 cyber-squatting domains turned over to ConsumerInfo.com, owner of FreeCreditReport.com. The full decision can be read via the National Arbitration Forum website. "It would seem that this decision sets or reinforces a fairly strong precedent that trademark holders may be entitled to, not only to the domain name that exactly matches their trademark, but also to a wide swath of other domain names including nearly every possible misspelling or other variation of that trademark, potentially even if the trademark is comprised of generic words."
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FreeCreditReport.com Wins 1,017 Domains By UDRP

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  • by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:14PM (#30093074) Homepage Journal

    to solve the important dilemma of people not wanting to be responsible for typing correctly.

    Jeez this is so stupid.

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:17PM (#30093098)

      No, some people ham-fist addressesd. You'll be tpying laong and hit teh wring button or forget if it was an underscore or a dash. THen where will you go? You don't know, and that's what a lot of scammers have been making money witj for a long tim.

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        No, some people ham-fist addressesd. You'll be tpying laong and hit teh wring button or forget if it was an underscore or a dash. THen where will you go? You don't know, and that's what a lot of scammers have been making money witj for a long tim.

        Thankyou for posting to slahsdot.org, the fan site for dots and slashes!

        Slahsdot.org - What You Need, When You Need It.

      • Exactly. Nd dey givz me many moneyz fer tonz of cheezburgerz!

        Long Tim
        iz Loooooong Cat

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      I have a better solution. Instead of redirecting all of the common misspellings of big sites back to the correct spelling (the typist learns nothing). You could have every typo redirect to goatze and tubgirl. Spelling errors will plummet in weeks.
    • by Romancer (19668)

      Am I the only one who thought that this was funny because of the typo in the subject of his post?

      This is gthe only real answer

      People are currently modding it insightful...

  • by Burdell (228580) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:15PM (#30093084)

    It's funny that "free"creditreport.com is upset that someone else is profiting off their name, when their name is designed to profit off someone else's. I don't think they existed before the US government mandated the credit agencies give you a free copy of your credit report every year (via annualcreditreport.com). "free"creditreport.com doesn't actually give you a credit report for free; you have to enroll in a reporting service to get it.

    • by WarlockD (623872) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:23PM (#30093148)
      I fell for this. They want $19.99 a month to "protect" your credit.

      Don't get me wrong though, it was kind of neat getting real time credit scores on your account, an email alert every time some yahoo looked at your report, and access to a one click instant credit lock. But in the end, unless your going to buy a house or a car you don't really need up to the second data on your report.

      Though, to be honest, I think we should be given access, atleast once a month rather than once a year. Its not like the data is that hard to display and it be far more useful to check for credit card fraud.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:25PM (#30093170)

        I fell for the catchy jingle.

        It's OK to admit it.

      • by dan_sdot (721837)
        Be careful about checking your credit too often though.

        When you check your credit too often, it dings your credit score. And it doesn't take much either.

        Don't ask me why this is the case...
        • by Jared555 (874152)

          If it was calculated/reported correctly it wouldn't. But there is a possibility that it is showing up in the same area as requests by credit card companies, etc. making it appear that you are requesting multiple credit cards/loans.

        • by wbren (682133) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:05PM (#30093464) Homepage

          Be careful about checking your credit too often though. When you check your credit too often, it dings your credit score.

          Not true. Applying for new lines of credit will lower your score, but checking it yourself will not. See http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs6c-CreditScores.htm#5 [privacyrights.org]

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:53PM (#30093844)

          Don't ask me why this is the case...

          Because - as I have recently found after starting a job here - the American banking system is utterly insane.

          I can't believe you people still use cheques, for fuck's sake. And that even with a 6 figure income you're looking at 6-12 months of "credit building" before you can qualify for a cheap car loan without being raped on interest rates.

          • by lgw (121541)

            I can't believe you people still use cheques, for fuck's sake. And that even with a 6 figure income you're looking at 6-12 months of "credit building" before you can qualify for a cheap car loan without being raped on interest rates.

            No, silly, this is America. We use checks. And we didn't fall for that chip-and-PIN-and-you're-liable-if-your-card-is-lost scam.

            Anyhow, taking a loan to buy a car is almost always a mistake. Save your money, pay cash, be free.

            • by drsmithy (35869)

              And we didn't fall for that chip-and-PIN-and-you're-liable-if-your-card-is-lost scam.

              What "scam" ? I'm not aware of any countries where the customer is liable for fraudulent transactions unless they've been grossly negligent (and being grossly negligent with your "checks" won't produce any different result).

              Anyhow, taking a loan to buy a car is almost always a mistake. Save your money, pay cash, be free.

              There are numerous situations where it makes more sense to get a loan. Everything from not having

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by lgw (121541)

                In many places, a chip-and-PIN credit card gives up the "stolen card" protection I'm used to, on the blatent falsehood that someone couldn't use your stolen card unless you told them the PIN.

                And there's always a rationalization for living beyond your means, but very few legitimate reasons to get a car loan. The only exception I can see is if you're a taxi driver buying your cab (or owner/operator of a comercial truck or etc) where it's really a small-business loan. Don't have much cash? Drive a crapwagon

          • by Kagura (843695)

            And that even with a 6 figure income you're looking at 6-12 months of "credit building" before you can qualify for a cheap car loan without being raped on interest rates.

            Can I have a $30,000 loan? I have a six-figure income, I can even have you meet my employer to prove it. What's that? You don't like giving loans to people you just meet, even if they make $120k a year?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pipingguy (566974) *
            With a "6 figure" income you need to borrow money to buy basic transportation?
      • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:59PM (#30093422)

        ...at least once a month rather than once a year...

        Tip: There are three credit agencies. You can check each one once a year for free. Check a different one every four months ...

        • From a real world POV thats a useful tip. From a bureaucracy and goverment POV. WHYYYYY? wtf we don't need redundancy in these situations. I can see why socialism is so unpopular in the states when the system is so retarded.
          • by barzok (26681)

            The credit-reporting agencies are not government entities.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              And yet all 3 have the incontestable power to destroy your life.
              • by barzok (26681)

                Private companies aren't bound by the Constitution (it's only meant to protect us from the government itself. Insert boilerplate argument about erosion of Constitutional protections over the last X decades here). That helps a lot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OnlineAlias (828288)

        Let us not forget that the majority of these sites are owned by the credit reporting agencies themselves. They have set up a system of credit reporting that is so ridiculously flawed security wise that they can now sell the people "protection" from the very same system. Good business to be in...

      • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:11PM (#30093528)
        We should be given access on a completely unrestricted basis 24/7/365 including holidays, weekends, etc. This is data that is used to deny you bank loans, car loans, causes higher rates on many things, etc. No one should be allowed to keep this data without allowing the affected parties to view every single fucking record. Furthermore, there should be financial penalties for any inaccuracies. They accidentally show that you paid late once when you really didn't? That's a $20000 fine, paid to YOU. I don't know why we think that companies need to be allowed to keep records like this and use them in business dealings but keep them completely secret. (Access once per year is nonsense, that's as close to secret as humanly possible)
        • This is data that is used to deny you bank loans

          When a U.S. lender uses a credit report to deny you a loan, you have the right under the FCRA to know which bureau the lender used, so you can get a copy of your credit report yourself.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          And all it will take is you getting enough people together to out-lobby the people who don't want that to happen.

        • by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday November 13, 2009 @10:28PM (#30094446)

          What, you think the purpose of a credit file is to serve the borrower?

          Credit scores and credit reports are for lenders. Why would they fine themselves for incorrectly reporting your credit history? The system is broken not because there is inadequate oversight or accountability regarding lending and reporting practices (though it is obviously grossly inadequate). The system is broken because it is designed from its very foundations to ensure that no matter what, lenders always come out on top. This is why fraud is not more aggressively pursued, and why incorrect reporting is shrugged off as a necessary part of doing business. The free-market mentality is that the only mechanism required to ensure correct reporting is the loss of revenue due to competitors valuation of lending risk being more accurate than one's own. And of course, the consumer is the one who always gets shafted under this system.

          Credit reports are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are a necessary aspect of determining credit risk. On the other hand, they are used these days to evaluate far more than one's creditworthiness--and they do so using very personal and specific data about you, information that you would think ought to be your right to know whether they are being used for or against you. The system is corrupt because it is being increasingly applied to aspects of one's life far beyond what was originally intended, yet the borrower is really the only party who truly cares about the accuracy of the data it contains.

          • In fact, this is the perfect example of why the free market doesn't work sometimes. Lenders always benefit when they can justify charging you more for a loan by getting the worst credit report possible. The reporting agencies have no incentive to fix the problems because every fixed problem directly results in lost profits for their industry.

            So you end up with lenders being protected while the consumers - the voters who control the laws that allow lenders to exist - get hit with higher and higher interest r

            • by shentino (1139071)

              The free market ALWAYS works...if it exists.

              The problem with a free market isn't that it doesn't work, but that it's fragile.

              As soon as one company gets big enough to push everyone else around, it is by definition not a free market anymore.

              Most "market failures" actually start happening when the market's "freeness" goes away.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Mr. Freeman (933986)
                "The free market ALWAYS works...if it exists."
                No, no, no, absolutely not!

                It does not always work.
                Look up:
                Moral hazard problem
                Coase theorem (negative externalities in an unowned resource, e.g. the air/environment)

                Those two things should be enough to show that the free market doesn't always work. And, of course, there's the problem with monopolies as you said.
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday November 13, 2009 @09:37PM (#30094174)

        ... and it be far more useful to check for credit card fraud.

        Precisely, and that's exactly what the Big Three don't want. If people started checking their credit record at will, and as a matter ordinary household economics, the credit bureaus would be under a lot more pressure to clean up their respective acts. That will cost them lots of money, and they're perfectly happy that 'x" number of us get screwed out of our savings and our credit every year. Otherwise, they would have to actually fix the broken system they've built. There's no incentive whatsoever for them to treat us decently in this respect, mainly because there's no downside to them if we get shafted. Congress, of course, could fix that very easily with effective regulation and enforcement, but it's unlikely that will ever come to pass ... too many billions (of our money) on the line.

        Furthermore, the corporations that depend upon the credit system (banks and credit-card issuers, for example) want millions of people who don't understand the system, don't understand how to improve their score, or what affects it. That way they can keep milking those people with high interest rates, late charges, and so forth. It's no small potatoes, my friend.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Not only that, but they don't give an easy way to cancel your membership online. The only way to cancel the thing is to literally call them up on the phone and do it, at which time you have to do verbal battle with the service rep whose job it is to tell you how awesome their service is and remind you that without it your credit score will catch HIV and die.

        They're one of the shadiest companies I've every dealt with.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      I am surprised that they themselves aren't considered domain squatters on "creditreport.com" -- if they argue that howtogetafreecreditreport.com is infringing on freecreditreport.com, I can't think of why they aren't infringing on creditreport.com
      Even more so considering that they have paid Google for a sponsored link when someone searches for "creditreport.com".

    • by MikeD83 (529104) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:36PM (#30093278)
      Not only do you have to enroll, but every month they charge you a fee of approximately $10/month. Which might seem okay if you could actually see your credit report every month.... I couldn't figure out how. I had to call them and cancel. The kind of cancellation where you have to convince them that you don't want to be a customer. As far as I am concerned freecreditreport.com is scum of the internet.
      • I had the same problem. With new addresses every few months while I was on partial sabbatical years ago, I amassed quite a stack of previous locations. Their 3rd degree authn process required me to know all of them. I didn't.

        Never could access what I was paying for, and you'd think the company would be required to cease billing if not providing the service, right? I I called them up, pointed this out, tried to get cancelled, tried to get charges refunded. Well, guess what? As far as they were concer

    • Their front page is (and always has been) right up front that they are selling you a service.

      They even give you the link to the "real" free credit report.

      Name aside, they don't seem too shady. There are plenty of opportunities to buy something you don't need, this is just another one. It's like buying clothes that say "dry clean only" right on the tag. You know what you are getting up front.
      • by pfleming (683342)

        Their front page is (and always has been) right up front that they are selling you a service. They even give you the link to the "real" free credit report. Name aside, they don't seem too shady. There are plenty of opportunities to buy something you don't need, this is just another one. It's like buying clothes that say "dry clean only" right on the tag. You know what you are getting up front.

        And the FTC is really looking to hammer them on the "free" credit report. The FTC tried to get the domain name due to freecreditreport.com being misleading and too close to the government's own site.

    • Very true. In fact, the FTC has already won one civil complaint against them (Experian) and is gearing up for another.

      What I really don't understand is why the FTC didn't use a .gov domain name when they set up their website.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by alecto (42429)

        The FTC didn't set it up. The big three set it up to comply with the FACT Act (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act). Although I agree that a .gov would have been much more apropos.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:17PM (#30093094) Homepage Journal
    Don't do it. You give them your info and get a free credit report, but you have to opt out like AOL or else they'll charge you. When you call them to opt out they haggle and harass you like AOL did ("Are you sure you want to cancel? Here are our other plans...") and you have to tell them no multiple times until either of you gives up. Then they continue to spam the living fuck out of your inbox.

    /rant
  • Really horrible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:18PM (#30093102)

    There are millions of people in the world with the same name. If I want a web site in my name, and someone else has it, I have to wait for them to die before I can have a site with my name on it. Unlike license plates where I can put up -01 or -02 or whatever, I can't do that now (oh noes, its too close). This is really really dumb. If you've ever tried to find someone on Facebook and has to go through ten pages of people with the same name, you know what I mean.

    • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:28PM (#30093202)

      Unless you're called "freecreditreport" I don't see how this affects you.

      IANAL but if your name is JohnSmith and you register JohnSmithsPage.com, and end up being sued by John Smith's Brewery [wikipedia.org], you'd have a fair crack at defending your page. Especially if you put "This page is not associated with John Smith's Brewery in any way" somewhere on your page.

      However if your page contains trash talk about John Smith's Brewery, or is obviously trying to fool people into thinking their at John Smith's Brewery's official site, you'd have a harder time convincing a judge. FOR example, check out this site [nissan.com], which still manages to hang on to its domain name despite having the force of a VERY LARGE company's legal army against it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)

        How is talking trash fooling people into thinking your that site?

        If you are intentioal lisleading people on the page, then you ahe an issue, but even then I would argue they oly recourse to to force you to no longer ahve that page. Giving the domain to the company that claims to be harmed is just cheesy and reeks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dunbal (464142)

          How is talking trash fooling people into thinking your that site?

                It's not. I made two separate points. But you're going to have a hard time getting sympathy from a judge if you're obviously antagonizing the other site owner.

      • by physburn (1095481)
        The law has changed as a result of the ruling. But it does show the importance of trademarks even on the internet. Typosquarting is a money making scheme, that offers nothing to the public, and i'm not sorry that the law is removing it. In your example with people reals name, yes your reasonibly ok with using your name, no matter that trademark. I believe that a Mister McDonalds own restrarant survived a trademark despute against larger clown logoed opposition.

        ---

        Internet Businesses [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distille [feeddistiller.com]

        • Typosquarting is a money making scheme, that offers nothing to the public

          Typosquirting is also a money making scheme, that offers something to the public if done, er, in public.
    • by mccrew (62494)

      I call BS.

      The whole issue with trademarks is whether a name is confusingly similar. Seems pretty clear to me that certain parties are trying to leech off a valid trademark holders name by registering common misspellings which would certainly meet the "confusingly similar" test.

      There is no equivalence between your example of common name domains JohnDoe.com and a real trademark CocaCola.com, or freecreditreport.com in this case.

      • by mccrew (62494)

        There is no equivalence between your example of common name domains JohnDoe.com and a real trademark CocaCola.com, or freecreditreport.com in this case.

        Following up to my own post, no cookie for me!

        If your name is Mike Rowe, then ignore this one point, for everyone else it stands. :)

  • by moz25 (262020) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:18PM (#30093104) Homepage

    I do not really agree that domains that only bear similarity to a mark should be transferred, but in this case, they are part of a large collection of domains that appear to be very obviously registered in bad faith, with the sole intention of typosquatting.

    I wonder if the registrant paid for those domains... this should have set him back at least $5k.

  • Sets a precedant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeadDecoy (877617)

    It would seem that this decision sets or reinforces a fairly strong precedent that trademark holders may be entitled to, not only to the domain name that exactly matches their trademark, but also to a wide swath of other domain names including nearly every possible misspelling or other variation of that trademark, potentially even if the trademark is comprised of generic words.

    Does it? It strikes me that FreeCreditReport variants have more potential to defraud regular people than your regular news site. If slashdot tried to do the same thing, and pick up all of the .coms, .nets, etc on its variants, it would probably be shot down. It would be a bit nice if this precendent was viewed in context as an exception where the public would benefit from not having ambiguous urls over the corporate entity actually owning the urls.

    • What does this mean for those who have their surname owned by a cyber squatter that wants a buzillion dollars for the domain?
      • by ivan256 (17499)

        Have you ever considered that they're doing you a favor? People who get family domain names based on their own name are usually the worst combination of dorky and egotistical. Do yourself a favor and register something creative instead.

        • by PachmanP (881352)

          Have you ever considered that they're doing you a favor? People who get family domain names based on their own name are usually the worst combination of dorky and egotistical. Do yourself a favor and register something creative instead.

          How so? firstname@lastname.com is a great email address. If people know who you are, it's easy to remember. It's more professional and less redicoulous than hotchix1970@hotmail.com. It's a little dorky, but I imagine people go "gee that's neat" more than they go "what a dork".



          AND I'M F!@#IN' AWESOME!!!!!

      • Buy your surname followed by a generic term related to what you sell. For instance, Staisy Example would find example.com taken and buy examplegreenhouse.com or something.
    • I was wondering since this sounds like it went through arbitration rather than an actual court, does it set a precedent? I mean a legal precedent? IANAL, so I don't know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:21PM (#30093128)
    You can get a really-and-truly free annual credit report from this website [annualcreditreport.com]

    FreeCreditReport.com charges $15 and is run by lying, typo-squatting douches at Experian [google.com].

  • > not only to the domain name that exactly matches their trademark, but also ... nearly every possible misspelling or other variation of that trademark

    Right now Larry Page and Sergey Brin are yelling at each other over their diamond-encrusted platinum iPhones. On the bright side this guy claims that Google earns $32M-50M on typosquatting. That's the sort of cash they could easily walk away:
    http://www.itworld.com/internet/56426/professor-google-earns-32-50m-typosquatting-sites [itworld.com]
  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:22PM (#30093140) Homepage

    ... means squat.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      When Godzilla and monster X fight, it's the people who pay.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      You mean you're not happy to see that a credit report scammer has protected itself against credit report scammer typo scammers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
      So guys from freecreditreport.com, cybersquatters, AND their lawyers were all in one courtroom at one time? Damn,there's never a suicide bomber around when you need one
      • by pfleming (683342)
        TA says they represented themselves, no lawyers were harmed in filing the suit. Except the losers lawyers. And even then, harm seems like such a strong word.
  • by Itninja (937614) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:22PM (#30093142) Homepage
    ....requires enrollment in Triple Advantage (tm).
  • Reasons FTA.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:25PM (#30093176)

    In one or more of the following ways
    (1) adding "ing," changing the tense of the mark to a present participle;
    (2) adding the letter "s," changing the mark from singular to plural;
    (3) adding a generic or descriptive word to the mark;
    (4) adding a generic or descriptive word to the mark that has an obvious association with Complainant's business;
    (5) adding an abbreviation of a geographic word to the mark; (6) adding a geographic word to the mark;
    (7) misspelling the mark by changing a letter in the mark to a different letter;
    (8) misspelling the mark by changing a letter in the mark to a number;
    (9) misspelling the mark by adding a letter within the mark;
    (10) adding a letter to the beginning or end of the mark;
    (11) misspelling the mark by adding a number within the mark;
    (12) adding a number to the beginning or end of the mark;
    (13) omitting the period between the first-level domain, "www," and the mark;
    (14) changing the generic top-level domain (gTLD) included in the mark from ".com" to ".org;" and/or
    (15) adding hyphens to the mark. Any individual disputed domain name typically contains Complainant's mark and one of these changes.

    I'm glad they won. The showed plenty of examples of other companies that also won b/c of squatters like Bank Of America vs wwwbankofamerica.com (squatter removed the ".").

    • Re:Reasons FTA.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:42PM (#30093318) Homepage Journal

      One could argue that Bank of America opens themselves up to typosquatters by using www.bankofamerica.com instead of their old and easier typed domain, bofa.com
      I notice that Barnes & Noble too wants users to type www.barnesandnoble.com instead of bn.com

      No, it doesn't make the typosquatters any more right, but I think one is justified in also blaming stupidmarketingdirectors@companieswithverylongdomainnames.com

      • they have just realized that people are too lazy/stupid to type urls anymore. I know a lot of people who google youtube to get to youtube where they then search for a video (this one is especially stupid since you could probably just search your video on google and it would link you to youtube or you could type in youtube.com instead of google...)

        When these users get their page of results, they want to then click on the link to barnesandnoble.com since they aren't looking for the BN company. Users are s

      • by ivan256 (17499)

        I think one is justified in also blaming marketing directors

        Removed the redundancy from that for you...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRealJFM (671978)

        These domain names are usually used because they're easier to *say* than shorthand versions.

        I used to think exactly the same way as you, but then I worked at a radio station for a year. Some of those short names can be quite easily misunderstood - letters are notoriously confusable. That's why there's a radio phonetic alphabet.

      • I notice that Barnes & Noble too wants users to type www.barnesandnoble.com instead of bn.com

        That's because they didn't want to risk being associated with BanniNation [bannination.com] (bN).

  • by Michael G. Kaplan (1517611) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:33PM (#30093238)

    The New York Times recently did an extensive article on this scam [nytimes.com].

    The entire basis of their operation is to fool people into paying for something advertised as free. They claim that their site discloses its fees, but the disclosure is still discrete enough to fool massive numbers of people.

    Any site where you make a purchase should disclose the fact that you are making a purchase with at least the level of clarity that you encounter on a reputable site such as Amazon.com. Also a service that advertises itself as "free" should never be allowed to charge -- even if they gratuitously disclosed their fee (which they don't) it would still be a bait an switch scam.

    • by drDugan (219551) * on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:51PM (#30093376) Homepage

      But its even deeper than this. Freecreditreport leeches off an even bigger scam. The whole premise that people allow, expect and pay these three companies to collect and sell their own information back to others is a intrinsically a scam.

      The "big three" do not see or treat consumers as their customers - which explains why they are so difficult to deal with: their customers are other companies that buy information about the "worthiness" of potential customers, like you.

      The absurd and unfair treatment that people received from these private companies was so bad that the laws were changed to require them to provide some information back to the unwilling subjects of their profits.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by benjamindees (441808)

        The "big three" do not see or treat consumers as their customers

        This is exactly correct. Not only are individuals not their customers, lenders actively profit when credit reports are worse than they should be, and these profits support the reporting agencies directly.

        It is the exact same scam as the ratings agencies passing off sub-prime mortgages as AAA. And it is completely due to the fact that the entire industry is supported by taxpayer money; financial institutions that fail to assess risk correctly are prevented from failing.

      • by ffflala (793437)

        I am really torn about this. I believe that the business model of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion is lecherous and pox on society -- they essentially quantify and qualify the reputation info of individuals and sell it to companies that want to know an individual's reputation before doing business with the individual. Congressional action against these companies goes back pretty far -- consumers used to have no effective recourse at all, you couldn't find out why your credit report was negative, and credit

        • by muridae (966931)
          We already function quite well with laws restricting people from knowingly lying about a person. How is that any different?
          • by ffflala (793437)

            We already function quite well with laws restricting people from knowingly lying about a person. How is that any different?

            It is different because frequently the information contained in credit reports is frequently accurate.

            When you're talking about accurate information, the right you're treading up against is that of freedom of speech.

            To get more specific, defamation --lying about someone else and causing them harm-- is already a restricted form of speech. It is also a possible action against a credit bureau that "with malice or willful intent" provides incorrect info. (See the Fair Credit Reporting Act 1681h(e).)

            The standard

    • by Zanix (684798) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:01PM (#30093430) Homepage
      It's actually even worse than this. There is no cancel option on their website which means to stop service, you have to call them and deal with their trashy customer service. That doesn't even mention the fact that they will refuse to delete your account if you ask. They claim they have to keep the credit card for record purposes. Somehow I doubt it. The only way to get your credit card number out of their hands is to cancel it.
    • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:29PM (#30093690) Homepage

      FreeCreditReport is a ripoff of AnnualCreditReport.com [annualcreditreport.com], the real free site which the U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires the three major credit bureaus to maintain at their expense.

      "ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. and Freecreditreport.com are not affiliated with the annual free credit report program. Under a new Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. To request your free annual report under that law, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com."

  • Erm (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:49PM (#30093816)

    Has to be said : what exactly do you get "for free" from freecreditreport.com? You can't get any information without paying and signing up for a service that you have to beg the phone reps to get canceled. Scarier still, the company that runs the site has the power to truly screw you over if you contest the charges on your credit card, since they ARE one of the credit reporting companies.

  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:52PM (#30093838) Journal

    The submitter's name is "typosquatting." The linked article was written by Alias Encore's PR flack , and exists for the sole purpose of selling Alias-Encore's software and services-- namely "helping companies increase highly qualified traffic to their websites through the strategic acquisition of misspelled domain names."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jimmydevice (699057)

      I tried to log into my sourceforge account yesterday via SSH and mistyped the url, transposing 2 letters.
      I got a login prompt and dutifully typed in my username and password, without success.
      Only after staring at my commands for a minute did I see the error.
      I immediately changed my password.
      More squatting scums!

  • Credit is fascism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:56PM (#30093864)
    Any company or government institution can put whatever they want on your credit report and you have no right to defend yourself. Serial killers even get a trial.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday November 13, 2009 @08:59PM (#30093896) Homepage Journal

    FreeCreditReport.com is a total scam. It's not free - you have to pay to get the report. But everyone's entitled to a free credit report once a year anyway, direct from the reporting corps, under US credit laws.

    And now that scam has funded this evil precedent.

    Goddamn the lawyers.

    • by Tacvek (948259)

      The really crappy thing is that FreeCreditReport.Com is run by one of the three credit reporting agencies.

      I also note that it is rather shitty that the interface the credit agencies provide when using the real annualcreditreport.com actually has places where it is difficult to find the link that says "No I don't want to buy these extra services, I just want to continue to the Free Credit Disclosure."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 13, 2009 @10:22PM (#30094422)

    That worthless bullshit garbage means NOTHING outside the borders of the Empire.

    Seriously, you can rack up tens of thousands in debt and just bounce to another country and get citizenship there leaving your silly social number and all that Imperial rabid consumerism as you get a new ID/identity for your new citizenship. All your three Master's can do then is cry into their platinum cups while sitting on their gold thrones on top of their titanium floors with embedded diamonds and pearls.

    The only check you need is a reality check with this set of debt chains you Imperials so proudly wear for some asinine reason.

  • by JimboFBX (1097277) on Friday November 13, 2009 @11:39PM (#30094792)
    freecreditreport.com will automatically sign you up for a service which you can cancel at any time. They will never ask how they will bill you because they will steal it out of one of your bank accounts as 3TVC. yeah, if you call to cancel they won't actually cancel. I've talked with like 3 or 4 people who have used the service and all of them said that freecreditreport.com didn't cancel even though they claimed that they did so on the phone. You have to get their payments disputed through your bank once you figure out which bank account they are pick-pocketing you from. I dont understand why they aren't all arrested and thrown in jail. My wife used this service, found out 6 months later that 3TVC was actually freecreditreport.com, tried to get refunds on them, and found that the bank wouldn't refund that far even though they had records of her account much farther back. She only got 3 months back. When she talked with someone from the bank, they said they get this all the time from freecreditreport.com. WHY ISN'T THIS ILLEGAL!?! THIS IS MINOR THEFT ON A LARGE SCALE AND EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT IT!!!!
  • by daveime (1253762)

    It's laughable that the domain freecreditreport.com says this on it's homepage.

    When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don't cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period**, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.

    So it's NOT free at all. Seems like they just handed over care of the lambs from one wolf to another.

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