Who can get a copy of your credit report: Part 3

Knowing your rights can help you avoid identity theft and protect your privacy.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides specific details about who can access your credit report. The information starts on page 12 of the FCRA in section § 604. This article wraps up the highlights of who may request a copy of your credit report and under what circumstances it can be done.

A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer’s credit report for employment purposes, but only if the person who requests the report certifies to the credit reporting bureau that the consumer (job applicant) has been provided a clear and obvious written disclosure that a credit report may be pulled for employment purposes and permission is obtained, in writing, from the job applicant that the potential employer has the job applicant’s permission to request a credit report for employment purposes only.

Credit Card

If a person is applying for employment via mail, telephone or computer, before a credit report is pulled the job applicant must be provided, by oral, written or electronic means, notice that the consumer’s credit report may be obtained for employment purposes. They must also be provided a summary of consumer rights. In addition the job applicant must provide consent, orally, in writing or electronically before their credit report is pulled.

Of course anyone requesting a report for employment purposes must not use the information to violate any applicable Federal or State equal employment opportunity law or regulation. They must also provide a summary of the consumer’s rights.

Khurram Imam, Michigan State University Extension educator, says, “In general, when a credit report is used for employment purposes, before taking any negative action because of the report, the potential employer must provide the job applicant a written description of his/her equal credit opportunity rights.”

If a consumer applies for employment by mail, telephone or computer and adverse action is taken because of their credit report, then the potential employer must provide, within 3 business days of taking such action, an oral, written or electronic notification that adverse action has been taken based on the consumer’s credit report. The job applicant must also be provided with the name, address and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency that furnished the consumer report (including a toll-free telephone number of the agency along with a statement that the potential employer was the one choosing to take adverse action, not the consumer reporting agency). The consumer can also, after providing proper identification, request a free copy of their report and may dispute with the consumer reporting agency the accuracy or completeness of any information in a report.

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