Who can access my credit report?
Consumers must give permission for someone to obtain their credit reports.
Information contained in credit reports can be used to steal someone's identity, damage credit or, at the very least, invade privacy. Federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), states, although there may be a compelling reason for a company, organization or another person to view someone's credit report, the consumer must provide permission. When a credit report is accessed without permission, the consumer may pursue legal action against that party.
Various organizations may have legitimate reason to access your credit report.
- Insurance companies (at underwriting, not claims)
- Landlords seeking a credit check for tenants
- Credit card companies
- Employers (only with full disclosure and your written consent)
- Government licensing organizations (if required to check financial status)
- State or local child support enforcement agencies
- Government agencies (usually can only look at your name, address, former addresses, and current and past employers)
- Companies or organizations with which you've initiated business
However, any time your credit report is viewed by one of these companies, a “hard inquiry” gets recorded on your report. Hard inquiries may lower your credit score.
Seek Legal Advice
Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people who have experienced harm from unauthorized access to his or her credit reports. Contact us to discuss your legal rights and steps to take.