Check Your Stats: What Credit and Other Reports Say about You
Your credit report contains a lot of information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history. But these reports aren’t the only documents out there that provide a glimpse into your financial past. Other specialty reports cover your prescription, rental, employment and even purchase returns history.
Here’s what you need to know about the various reports that might contain your information—and who can look at them.
Everyone is entitled to a free copy every year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. That’s three free copies a year. You can also get a free report if you’re the victim of identity theft, if you’re unemployed and searching for a job, if you think your report has errors or if anyone uses the report against you. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized source for a truly free credit report. If you’d prefer to order your report by phone instead of going online, the number is 1-877-322-8228.
Banks, debt collectors, landlords or others with a valid interest are the only ones who can pull credit reports. Prospective employers need to have written consent to run checks on applicants.
Consider staggering your requests for credit reports from all three agencies over the course of the year so you get one every four months. Check for, and report, any inaccuracies.
There could be several other reports about you, depending on your medical and purchasing history. Prospective employers need permission to obtain any type of consumer report on a job applicant, but others with a valid interest (like a landlord) don’t need your consent for some reports.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key reports and how to find out if there’s one about you.
- Personal information reports contain details of your employment and tenant history, as well as information on liens and judgments, voter registration and more. The report is used for background screening. You can request a report from LexisNexis and get your background screening report from Acxiom. You can also get a Full File Disclosure from ChoicePoint.
- Insurance reports are available from Insurance Services Office. If you’ve applied for individual health or life insurance in the past few years, the Medical Information Bureau may have a file on you. IntelliScript and MedPoint collect information on prescription drugs (including refills and dosages) that may go back five years.
- Employment and income history is collected by The Work Number. Abso compiles employment-related information. Although these companies may not have information about you, it doesn’t hurt to check.
- Purchase return reports from The Retail Equation are designed to prevent fraudulent and abusive returns. If your report prevents you from returning an item to a store, you should request a copy. The Retail Equation does not share data with any credit reporting agencies or similar organizations like potential creditors, employers, insurers, landlords and government agencies.