Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvania Consumers

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id theft graphicCorrective Actions ? Credit Bureaus 

Each time you apply for credit, open an account with the gas, telephone or electric company, or secure a loan, the transaction is recorded on your credit report. Lenders, landlords, insurers, utility companies, banks and other credit grantors then use the information provided in these reports to make decisions about their business relationships with you. However, negative transactions can have far reaching implications and victims of identity theft often find themselves suffering severe consequences due to the recklessness of others.

Today, there are three major credit bureaus - TransUnionExperian, and Equifax  ? all of which maintain your credit report, the accuracy and reliability of which are crucial to a healthy marketplace. In addition to collecting credit information, the three major credit bureaus also distribute that information to the appropriate institutions. When you apply for a loan, the lender makes an inquiry to one or more of the three major credit bureaus to receive your credit history information. The lender then uses this information, along with your income and other factors, to make a decision.

A credit report is a type of consumer report that contains information about where you work and live and how you pay your bills. It also may show whether you have been sued or arrested or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit bureaus compile and sell your credit report to businesses. Because businesses use this information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and other purposes allowed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), it is important that the information in your report is complete and accurate.

A credit report may contain any of the following information about you:

  • Identifying information - your name, current and previous address, Social Security Number, telephone number, date of birth, and current and previous employer
  • Credit history - your history of paying bills with credit grantors (such as retail stores, banks, finance companies, and mortgage companies)
  • Public records - items that may affect your credit worthiness, such as tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies, etc.
  • Inquiries - lists identifying the credit grantors and other authorized parties who have received your credit report. Inquiries also contain lists of the companies that receive your name and address for the purpose of offering you credit.

A credit report does not contain:

  • Checking or savings account information
  • Medical histories
  • Major purchases paid in full with cash or check
  • Business accounts, unless you are personally liable for the debt
  • Credit scores
  • Your race, gender, religion or national origin

You have the right to get a free copy of your credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months, from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. 

For instant access to your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.