Legal Use of Your Credit Report


Understand who can use your credit report and how your credit report can be used under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Your credit report is a very personal history of the places you’ve lived, the places you’ve worked, and your financial transactions. Nevertheless, your credit report is routinely used by a variety of businesses – sometimes with your consent and sometimes without your permission.

Employers and potential employers: Whether you’re applying for a job or a promotion within your company, your employer or potential employer may want to see your credit report. This is because there’s a widely held belief that those with poor credit scores are more likely to commit fraudulent acts against their employers. While research doesn’t seem to support this, many companies routinely check credit reports for potential employees who might with sensitive information or company finances. The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that employers can’t access your credit report without your permission, so you may be asked to sign a consent form. While giving permission is up to you, the reality is that refusing to sign is often a deal breaker for employers. Congress is currently considering legislation to limit employer use of credit reports.

Medical information: Your health records and medical information is protected under several federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, employers, creditors, and insurers can get medical information about you if you sign a consent form allowing them to do so. Similar to credit report consent for employers, refusing to sign is often a deal breaker. In other words, consumers are often put in a position of having very little real choice in the matter.

Investigative consumer reports: Businesses – most often potential employers and insurers – can request an investigative consumer report. This is similar to a background check, where neighbors, family members, and acquaintances may be asked about your character, your lifestyle, and so forth. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you must be notified if a company orders an investigative consumer report. If the report results in your application being denied, you have a right to the information (but not the source of the information) from the consumer reporting agency.

Others who can access your credit report: The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that virtually any business that extends credit can access your credit report. In addition, landlords, insurers, and employers can obtain copies of your credit report. Keep in mind that the FCRA also says that, if you’re denied because of something contained in your credit report, you have a right to know why, and you have the right to a free copy of your credit report within 60 days.

If you or someone you know is the victim of credit report issues, complete our online form or call 475-277-2200. Lemberg Law’s legal team will evaluate your case at no cost to you, and will help you get the justice you deserve.

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