Your credit report contains quite a bit of information about your financial history. It includes personal information, all of your open credit accounts and whether or not they are in good standing, and any negative marks, such as accounts in default or vehicle repossessions. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, not just anyone can see a copy of your credit report.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act to protect consumers from unauthorized access to credit reports and incorrect or incomplete information. If you find an error on your credit report, you have the right to dispute the information with the credit bureau and have it corrected.
The FCRA sets clear laws on who can access your credit report and what they can use it for. Common individuals and businesses that can access your report include landlords, current or prospective employers, lenders, and utility companies. Although they are allowed to access your report, there are certain requirements and guidelines that must be followed when they do so. Most important, the consumer must provide written permission for someone to access reports from the credit bureaus.
For full details on who can pull your credit report and when, read this article on impermissible credit use from Nolo.
If you think your rights were violated
If you believe an unauthorized person or business pulled your credit report, or the circumstance in which they did so was inappropriate, you may be able to take legal action. Often the consumer may be misled in to believing that someone, or a company, has the right to obtain their private, personal information.