Q: How is my credit history report generated? What is in this
report, and who has access to the information it contains?
Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) collect and release
information on nearly everyone. If you have ever applied for credit,
insurance, or a job, a file exists with your credit profile and
possibly your medical profile as well. The most common type of CRA is
the credit bureau.
Insurance companies, creditors, employers, and other businesses
purchase information about you from CRAs. Therefore, it is important
to monitor these reports for inaccuracies and evidence of identity
theft. By law, CRAs must provide you with a full copy of your report
if you request it. This usually includes the sources of the
information, as well as everyone who has requested a copy of your
report within the past year. The reports may be free of charge or
require a nominal fee.
To locate consumer reports in your name, begin by contacting the
three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion:
- Equifax - 800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com
- Experian - 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742) or www.experian.com
- Trans Union - 800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com
You should also check with the companies listed under "credit
reporting agencies" in the yellow pages. If you find problems with
your report, see this month's Resource Link for steps to correct
errors or review the September issue of the IRA.com Newsletter for
ways to deal with identity theft.