A Benefit of Ordering One's Free Credit Report Online Rather than by Phone

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March 1, 2006

First let me commend you on your site!

I noticed that in your recommendation in requesting the now free annual credit report, you suggest using the phone. While of course one should always be alert for possible spoofing, keystroke monitoring and spyware, may I give an example of why it would be a good idea to use the opportunity provided by www.annualcreditreport.com to at least establish a known login and password with TransUnion and Equifax? (There does not seem to be a way to establish a personal web account with Experian -- but please check me on this.)

I have been ordering my credit report annually since my late teens because I do not trust my father to not open accounts behind my back and use my credit fraudulently. I always mailed in my request along with a check. Thus it was only this year, when I decided to leave the Pony Express behind and enter the web-connected age that I discovered, connecting through the annualcreditreport.com website, that there was already a login and password established for my credit report through Equifax. I called the service rep and discovered that the email address was my *father's*, and he had used this access back in 2001. And I would never have known about this "back door" into my credit files if I hadn't happened to check that path.

Naturally he has my SSN and mother's maiden name and birthdate -- everything you need to set this up. And now, having had a gander at my credit report from a few years ago, it would be very little work to hack into my accounts again. Mercifully, being of the opposite gender than I, it is hopeful that the telephone representative of the credit reporting agencies would be suspicious and not allow him to change the login/password access.

I really suspect that a lot of identity theft happens within the family. They have means and opportunity; all you need is one fiscally imprudent member and there you have the motive. There seems to be very little one can do to alert the credit agencies of this possibility.

Any thoughts you have on the matter would be appreciated. Thanks for the site and for listening.


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