Checking your credit rating, scams targeting the hearing impaired, and the Friday Notice: Internet ScamBusters #187
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
We haven’t done a subscriber Q&A issue for awhile, so we’ll do one for you
today and answer these three questions:
- How do I check my credit rating without getting scammed or spammed?
- What scams are targeting the hearing impaired?
- Can I stop receiving the Friday Notice email?
First though, we recommend you check out the most popular articles from our other
sites during the past week (especially the first one):
Five Steps to Credit
How to Save
Money on Electronics
and Go Credit Cards: Modern Convenience or another Identity Theft
An Odd Side Effect from Pepto-Bismol
On to today’s Q&A from subscribers…
Internet ScamBusters Q&A
Question: I’m fortunately not the victim of a scam (as far as I know!) but I would
like to check our credit rating. I’ve looked at a few Internet websites, and when
it gets to the point of putting in our SSNs and hitting "OK" my blood
Can you recommend a few good sites where my info won’t be stolen and I won’t be
subjected to unending spam as a result?
Thanks! You guys are really great, and I really enjoy reading your information!
Answer: Thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately, in order to get your credit rating, you do need to give your Social
And of course, you are correct to be very concerned about doing that. There are
many, many scam sites out there.
Here are a few suggestions:
- We assume you’re talking about getting your credit score, not just getting a
free credit report. If you do want to get a free
credit report without getting scammed, you can find out how to do
- We’re not aware of any way to get your credit score for free — you have to
pay for getting a copy. And it’s gotten much more complicated — there are now
different credit scores.
Here are two good ways to proceed:
1. If you haven’t yet gotten your free report from each of the three credit reporting
agencies this year, you can get a copy using AnnualCreditReport.com and then pay
a few dollars to get your credit score as well:
2. If you have gotten a free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting
agency already, you can go directly to one of the three agencies: Experian, Equifax
or TransUnion. The cost depends on the state in which you live.
We personally use Equifax:
- There is a page called "What You Need to Know About Your Credit" on
the FTC website that answers a lot of questions. It includes links to the three
credit reporting agencies.
- Here’s another page to check out from the FTC that provides additional useful
- Finally, if you’d like step-by-step instructions on how to get your credit score,
what it means, how to improve it, and much more, we recommend the excellent ebook
listed at the end of this newsletter:
Question: I am a fraud investigator for a bank in Maryland. I have at least three
deaf customers who were contacted thru the impaired telephone relay system by
Nigerians. The customers agreed to receive checks to clear thru their personal
accts, keep a portion of the money and send the balance to Nigeria.
Each of these customers were very trusting and referred to their contacts as "their
very good friends." I have seen several scam letters in the past where the
perps refer to someone as "my dear friend."
Have you heard of this type of scam targeting the impaired before? If not, maybe
we should get the word out to others.
Answer: Great question!
Yes, we’ve unfortunately seen lots of scams targeting the hearing impaired. As
you mentioned, the scammers often use the special telephone lines for the hearing
These scams are definitely not limited to Nigerians.
If you are hearing impaired — or are close to someone who is — please spread
the word that these scams are growing. Most of the scams we have written about
in ScamBusters are now being targeted specifically at the hearing impaired.
Question: I am one of your subscribers who finds "ScamBusters Now Online"
short announcement messages unnecessary.
Is there any chance you could use an alternate From address just for those, such
as "firstname.lastname@example.org", so I can filter them into my spam folder
Answer: We’ve answered this question before, but we’ve had tens of thousands of
new subscribers in the interim (and we get this question periodically), so we
decided to answer it again.
We send the main complete issue out on Wednesdays, and a follow-up on Fridays
to let you know when each issue is posted online. Each is labeled clearly.
The reason we’re doing this is because so many subscribers who are not getting
ScamBusters (because of the filters) requested we do this.
Since so much of the information we discuss is scam-related, our newsletters are
very frequently captured by the filters.
Unfortunately, we have no good way of only sending these notices to only some
Although we cannot easily send Friday issues from a different address, you can
accomplish the same thing in a different way — see the following paragraph for
For more advanced subscribers: If you regularly get the main issue and you want
to file or delete the Friday notices in your email program, you can use the phrase
‘ScamBusters Now Online’ in the Subject Field of the short notice to filter it
and set for auto-delete (but please don’t flag it as spam).
Time to close — we’re off to enjoy a walk through the mountains. See you next