Ben Stein’s Credit Report Fail

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Reuters‘ Felix Salmon has done yeoman’s work ruining what was left of the reputation of Ben Stein, the political commentator and D-list celebrity best known for his role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a Comedy Central game show, and Visine ads. Unfortunately, Felix’s work on this hasn’t received nearly enough attention, and I still have to see Stein on my television at least four or five times a week. Stein’s latest gig is as a spokesman for Freescore.com, a “free credit report” site. If you know anything about Freescore’s competitors, you will realize is not a good place to go get a free credit score. Felix explains:

[On April 2,] a new FTC rule came into effect (read all 22 pages of it here), forcing all such websites to have a huge notice across the top of every web page, saying that AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY authorized source for credit reports under federal law, and providing a prominent link to this page.

Folks who are familiar with how these sites operate will not be surprised to learn that Freescore.com and Creditreport.com have so far ignored the FTC rule. FreeCreditReport.com (which is behind the most annoying of the “free” credit report ads you see on television) has taken its noncompliance a step further with a bizarre scheme that Felix explains here. “In any case,” Felix adds, “it’s pretty clear that both Freescore.com and CreditReport.com are simply in outright violation of the new laws. I look forward very much to seeing them slapped with some huge fines.”

Me, too. Maybe if the fine’s big enough, Freescore won’t be able to afford to pay Ben Stein any more money.

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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

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So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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