The Fair Credit Reporting Agency is NOT Just About Your Credit Reports…There’s Much More

When you hear the term credit reporting agency, you typically
think of the big 3 reporting agencies that report your payment
history and balances; Trans
, Equifax and Experian.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act
(FCRA) provides consumers with a number of rights when it comes to
dealing with a credit reporting agency including a free copy of
your credit report once every year, as well as a free credit report
whenever you are denied a credit opportunity. The FCRA says that no
one can access your credit report  without a legal purpose,
and that you can have the right to have inaccurate information on
your credit reports investigated and corrected. 

What most people don’t know is that credit reporting is not just
limited to Trans Union, Equifax and Experian, and your credit
histories.  The FCRA covers all “Consumer Reports” which means
any communication by a consumer reporting agency ie: a consumer’s
credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation,
personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or
expected to be used for the purpose of serving as a factor in
establishing the consumer’s eligibility for credit, insurance or
employment purposes. 

“Consumer Reports” are not just the big 3 reporting companies;
they are also a host of other companies that maintain databases
which are used for background checks for employment, insurance,
check cashing and criminal behaviors.  When you apply for a
job and a background check is performed, chances are a company such
as Hireright/USIS, Innovis, Intelius or Corelogic may be
contacted for a report about you.  If you apply for insurance,
a company such as National Insurance
Crime Bureau
(NICB) may be contacted, or if you apply for a
bank account or credit union, companies such as ChexSystems or
Certegy Check Cashing may be contacted.

Any company that provides “Consumer Reports” of any kind must
comply with the FCRA which means that they must: be prepared to
provide a free report to a consumer every 12 month period; have a
reasonable dispute procedure in place when a consumer identifies
inaccurate information in their reports; and must respond to the
consumer within 30 days.

We have seen many instances of errors on “Consumer Reports” here
at SmithMarco and there have been
numerous news reports of individuals with the same name as career
criminals who have been prevented employment due to a background
check.  As a consumer, you have the protection
of the FCRA to clear up any error on your consumer report and also
the right to seek compensation when these errors cause you a loss
of income.