03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Free" Credit Reports Sometimes Aren't Free

Like many consumers, Wendy Temple's first step shopping for a mortgage was to go online to get a sense of where she stood as a prospective borrower.

Temple, an accountant, surfed to, a popular website owned by TransUnion, one of the Big Three credit bureaus. There she purchased her TransRisk credit score, TransUnion's assessment of her credit worthiness. Temple thought her score -- 608 -- was just high enough for her to qualify to buy a $207,000 home in a gated community in Holiday, Fla.

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