A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
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 that gather and sell information about your creditworthiness to creditors, employers, landlords, and other businesses. The FCRA gives you specific rights, which are summarized below. You may have additional rights under state law. For more information, go to www.ftc.gov/credit, or write to: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
- You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report 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 the victim of identify theft and place a fraud alert in your file
- your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud
- you are on public assistance, or
- you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.
- All consumers are entitled to 1 free disclosure every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. See www.ftc.gov/credit for additional information.
- You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on information from credit bureaus. You may request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies that create scores or distribute scores used in residential real property loans, but you will have to pay for it. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information for free from the mortgage lender.
- You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous. See www.ftc.gov/credit for an explanation of dispute procedures.
- Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. A consumer reporting agency or furnisher must remove or correct information verified as inaccurate, usually within 30 days after you dispute it. However, a consumer reporting agency may continue to report negative data that it verifies as being accurate.
- Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information. In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than 7 years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
- Access to your file is limited. A consumer reporting agency may provide information about you only to people with a valid need as determined by the FCRA — usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business.
- You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers. A consumer reporting agency may not give out information about you to your employer, or a potential employer, without your written consent given to the employer. Written consent generally is not required in the trucking industry. For more information, go to www.ftc.gov/credit.
- You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.Unsolicited “prescreened” offers for credit and insurance must include a toll-free phone number you can call if you choose to remove your name and address from the lists these offers are based on. You may opt-out with the nationwide credit bureaus at 1 888 5OPTOUT (1 888 567 8688).
- You may seek damages from violators. If a consumer reporting agency, or, in some cases, a user of consumer reports or a furnisher of information to a consumer reporting agency violates the FCRA, you may be able to sue in state or federal court.
- Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights. Victims of identity theft have new rights under the FCRA. Active-duty military personnel who are away from their regular duty station may file “active duty” alerts to help prevent identity theft. For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/credit.