Q: After reading about how to get a “free copy of your credit report”, I went online and without my knowledge was directed to FreeCredit.com. They thanked me in an e-mail for my membership to Triple Advantage Monitoring. I am so upset that this company has all of my important personal information, along with my credit card information. Please inform all of your readers of this unbelievable scam.

A: You’re not the only one to be fooled by a Web site purporting to offer “free” credit reports and scores. However, there are a couple of places to get a truly free copy of your credit report online: AnnualCreditReport.com and CreditKarma.com.

AnnualCreditReport.com is a Web site sponsored by the three main credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It will not ask for your credit card information (that should have been a red flag for you) unless you purchase a credit score.

Credit Karma is a Web site that offers a TransUnion credit score. When I signed up, it did not require me to input a credit card at all. CreditKarma works by offering you credit cards that match your credit profile. But you’re under no obligation to apply for any of the deals you’re offered.

Any Web site that purports to give you a “free credit score” or a “free credit report” but which asks for a credit card number to generate your “free” score or report should be avoided.

April 9, 2009