Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who Can See What Is In My Credit Report?

Univac1-LOImage via WikipediaCredit reports contain a large amount of information about consumers. In them you will find Social Security numbers, date of birth, current and previous addresses, telephone number (including unlisted numbers), credit payment status, employment, even legal information.

Credit reporting agencies are in the business of collecting and sorting your financial information for the sole purpose of selling the information to companies that need to know your credit worthiness. Many types of companies and entities can have access to your information just for the asking. Anyone with a legitimate business need can seek access to your credit report. They include: 

  • Those considering granting you credit.
  • Landlords.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Employers and potential employers (but only with your consent).
  • Companies with which you have a credit account for account monitoring purposes.
  • Those considering your application for a government license or benefit if the agency is required to consider your financial status.
  • A state or local child support enforcement agency.
  • Any government agency (limited usually to your name, address, former addresses, current and former employers).

Usually a boss or future boss needs your permission to view it. Many potential creditors ask the permission of the client. But it is not required when companies wish to offer pre-approved credit.

Most people don't even know that they can see their own credit reports. But it is your right under state and federal law. It's always a good idea to check out your own credit report on a regular basis. Every year is an adequate time frame. You are able to view your report once a year from each credit reporting agency. All you have to do is ask. And it's free.

Your Rights under Law:

  • Obtain a copy of your credit report. You now have a right to a free copy once a year.
  • Know who has received a copy of your report.
  • Dispute inaccurate information.
  • Even if negative information is included, to explain the circumstances.
  • "Opt-out" to prevent credit bureaus from using your information for marketing.
  • Complain to the appropriate government agency or file a lawsuit.

To order your free reports, you can call the official toll-free number, (877) 322-8228. You can also go online to www.annualcreditreport.com where you can order your reports directly. Or you can print out the form and mail your request at, www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/requestformfinal.pdf, until sometime in 2012 when CoreLogic reports are available online. Free reports may be ordered by calling 877-532-8778.

You can also contact the 3 credit reporting agencies directly.

(800) 685-1111
Web, www.equifax.com
Web, www.experian.com
Trans Union
(800) 888-4213
Web, www.transunion.com

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