Who Has Info on You - and What Do Those Files Say?
By Ric Edelman
Information about you is stored in corporate and government computers throughout the United States and abroad. Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act you now can see what those computers say about you.
Once a year, you are permitted to obtain a free copy of your credit report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Just click on www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 877-322-8228. FACTA also gives you the right, once a year, to obtain free copies of “specialty consumer reports.” These reports reveal information about your driving record, medical history, criminal and civil cases, and your business and banking activities. Let’s look closer at these reports.
Your Medical History
Whenever you apply for individual disability, life, long-term care, or health insurance, the information you provide on the application is forwarded to the Medical Information Bureau. When health care providers share information about you with insurance companies, the insurers add that data to your MIB file. You can get a free copy of your MIB report by calling 866-692-6901.
Your Auto and Homeowner Insurance
Want to see your driving record, including tickets and accidents you’ve had in the past five years? How about a list of claims you’ve filed on your homeowner’s and auto insurance policies? Get your free A-Plus Auto and Homeowner Insurance Report by calling ISO Insurance Services at 800-627-3487. Similar information is available from ChoicePoint regarding your automobile and homeowner’s from Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange reports. Call 866-312-8076.
Your Checking Accounts
If you’ve ever bounced a check, TeleCheck (800-209-8186) or ChexSystems (800-428-9623) is likely to know about it. Their files also will show if a credit union or bank ever closed your account due to insufficient funds. Call to learn what they say about your checking account history.
About That Job You Applied For…
Ever been turned down for a job or promotion? The employer might have made its decision after conducting a background check on you. FACTA gives you the right to see those reports if they led to a denial of a job or promotion. But hundreds of companies provide background checks, and the new law does not require employers to give you the name of the firm it hired. ChoicePoint is one of the few companies likely to provide a free report; you can ask them for it by calling 866-312-8075.
Do you know someone who has been having trouble getting insurance, renting an apartment, or getting a job? Someone with such problems should consider obtaining copies of these relevant specialty consumer reports before reapplying to make sure the information contained in the report is accurate.