Specialty consumer reports reveal your secrets
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Residential and tenant reports.
Many landlords ask prospective tenants to sign a release for credit
and other background reports. Other tenant-screening reports can
include information about an applicant's prior rental history, based
on reports from previous landlords or housing court records, as
well as services that actually contact former landlords and current
employers. These can also include other information and reference
checks on behalf of the rental-property owner.
For information on getting tenant
reports, click here.
history reports. Banks commonly report bounced checks, accounts
closed due to insufficient funds, and fraud to specialty consumer
reporting agencies including ChexSystems, Shared Check Authorization
Network and TeleCheck. If you've been the victim of identity theft,
you can fill out a form from ChexSystems that will place a security
alert in your consumer report. That alert warns creditors that your
identity may have been used without your consent.
For information on getting check
writing history reports, click here.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have a right
to a free report each year, to ask to have wrong information corrected,
and to insert explanations into most of these reports. You don't
get the exact report that your landlord, your insurance company
or your bank gets, but you get a "file disclosure," which means
that you can have a copy of the information that a particular specialty
consumer reporting agency has on file about you.
If you are denied insurance, an apartment or a bank
account because of information contained in one of these reports,
you have the right to contest it. Different companies have different
policies on how they go about investigating consumer complaints,
but these policies must follow procedures outlined by the Fair Credit
For example, the MIB will conduct a reinvestigation
if a consumer contests information in his MIB file. The insurance
company that reported the information will conduct this reinvestigation
and will examine the underlying medical information, the source
of that information, and any other relevant sources provided by
the consumer, says Aronson.
Should the reinvestigation confirm the original information,
MIB informs the consumer that no changes will be made and that the
consumer has a right to file a statement of dispute that MIB will
provide to any companies considering an insurance application for
this consumer. If the original information was wrong, it will be
corrected in your file.
How to get your report
Because different specialty consumer reporting agencies
work in different areas, there is no centralized place where you
can get all of these different reports. And keep in mind that there
might not be reports on you in all or any of these areas. Still,
it's good to check, especially if you are getting ready to apply
for new private (nonemployer) insurance, rent a house or apartment,
apply for a new bank account, or if you've been the victim of identity
For a roundup of how to get ahold of your reports
via the Web and toll-free phone numbers, courtesy of the Privacy
Rights Clearinghouse click