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 consumers specific rights. You may have additional rights under state law.
- You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses information from a consumer reporting agency to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment — or take other adverse action against you — must tell you and give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting agency that provided the information.
- You can find out what is in your file. At any time, you may request and obtain your report from a consumer reporting agency. You are entitled to free reports if a person has taken adverse action against you because of information in a report; if you are the victim of identity theft or fraud; if you are on public assistance; or if you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days. In addition, you are entitled to one free report every 12 months from each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies and from some specialized consumer reporting agencies.
- You have a right to know your credit score†. For a fee, you may request your credit score†. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information without charge.
- You can dispute inaccurate information with the consumer reporting agency. If you tell a consumer reporting agency that your file has inaccurate information, the agency must take certain steps to investigate unless your dispute is frivolous.
- 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.
- Outdated negative information may not be reported. In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than seven 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 permissible purpose as determined by the FCRA — usually to consider an application with a creditor, insurer, employer, landlord, or other business.
- Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have rights. Victims of identity theft have 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, or write to: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.