Credit report: Summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act - Part 1

Knowing your rights can help you avoid identity theft and save you money.

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. There are many types of consumer reporting agencies including credit bureaus and specialty agencies such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records and rental history records. For more information, including information about additional rights, go to www.ftc.gov/credit. Below, Michigan State University Extension provides a summary of your major rights under the FCRA:

  • You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or other type of consumer reporting agency to deny your application for credit, insurance or employment – or to take another adverse action against you – must tell you, and must give you the name, address and phone number of the agency that provided the information.
  • You have the right to know what is in your file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in the files of a consumer reporting agency (your “file disclosure”). You will be required to provide proper identification which may include your Social Security number. In many cases, the disclosure will be free. You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:
      • A person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report
      • You are a victim of identity theft
      • Your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud
      • You are on public assistance
      • You are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.

All consumers are entitled to one free credit report disclosure every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau. You can order your free annual credit report online at: annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

For the most part, Michigan has left consumer credit reporting laws to the federal government. However, Michigan’s legislature did enact the Michigan Consumer Protection Act in 1976. Realizing that identity theft was quickly becoming a major problem, Michigan legislators addressed the crime in 2004 through the Identity Theft Protection Act. A portion of the act explains the rules and regulations for destroying records. Another law, the Social Security Number Privacy Act of 2004, prohibits the public display of a consumer’s complete Social Security number. The Michigan Attorney General’s office is the enforcer of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act within Michigan.

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