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The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to credit reporting companies.
A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies, including credit bureaus and specialty agencies (such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental history records). Here is a summary of your major
rights under the FCRA. For more information, including information about additional rights, go to www.ftc.gov/credit or write to:
Consumer Response Center, Room 130-A, Federal Trade
Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580
You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment – or to take another adverse action against you – must tell you, and must give the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.
You have the right to know what is in your file. You may request and obtain all the
information about you in the files of a consumer reporting agency (your “file disclosure”).
You will be required to provide proper identification, which may include your Social Security number. In many cases, the disclosure will be free.
You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:
- A person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit
- You are the victim of identify theft and place a fraud alert in your file;
- Your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud;
- You are on public assistance;
You are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.
In addition, by September 2005 all consumers will be entitled to one free disclosure every 12
months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty
consumer reporting agencies. See www.ftc.gov/credit for additional information.
- You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on information from credit bureaus. You may request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies that create scores or distribute scores used in residential real property loans, but you will have to pay for it. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information for free from the mortgage lender.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous. See www.ftc.gov/credit for an explanation of dispute procedures.
- Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected, usually within 30 days. However, a consumer reporting agency may continue to report information it has verified as accurate.