Who Can Pull My Credit Report?
Fortunately, there are laws that regulate who can access your credit report and not just anyone can pull your credit reports without your permission. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or “FCRA,” is a Federal law that mandates the rules and regulations for the credit reporting industry, and also protects consumers in the process. In Section 604 under Permissible Purpose, the FCRA outlines the rules about exactly who is legally able to access your credit report and why. Let’s take a look:
- Court Order
- Consumer Disclosure
- Employment Screening
- Insurance Underwriting
- License Eligibility
- Credit Risk
- Debt Collection
- Child Support
- Legitimate Business Need
Now, there’s a pretty significant myth as it pertains to access to your credit reports. The myth is that you need to give written permission or sign something in order for a company or third party to gain access to your credit report. That’s simply incorrect. In fact, it’s perfectly legal for a company to pull your credit file without written permission.
The exception to that rule is when an employer wants to pull your credit reports for employment screening. In that case you must give overt permission for the employer to get your credit report.
Here’s the argument for the “no-signature required” nature of the FCRA. If you’re walking on a car lot and you want to take a test drive, does that mean you’re interested in financing a car? You could easily argue that it does not.
If you don’t want a company to access your credit reports be sure not to give them your name, address, date of birth or social security number. These are the identifying variables that a lender must have in order to pull your credit files.
Credit Expert Witness, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. Follow him on Twitter here.