Fact Sheet 6b:
"Other" Consumer Reports:
What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports
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Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
- Specialty Consumer Reports – the Players
- Your Right to Free Annual Reports from Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies
- Insurance Claims Reports
- Medical and Prescription Drug History Reports
- Residential and Tenant Reports
- Check Writing History Reports
- Employment Background Screening Reports
- The Work Number Employment Data Reports
- LexisNexis Accurint Person Reports
- LexisNexis Full File Disclosure
- National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE)
- Reports Focusing on Consumers Using Alternative or Fringe Financial Providers
- When to Order a Specialty Report
Will you be a good employee?
Are you likely to wreck your car?
Is your checking account frequently overdrawn?
Are you in poor health?
Will you default on your mortgage?
Does your home have water damage?
Will you trash the apartment or vacate with rent unpaid?
These are some of the unspoken questions asked by employers, landlords, creditors, insurers and banks as you – the consumer – make your way through the normal affairs of adult life. To the company that may give you a job, write an insurance policy, or rent you an apartment, you represent a risk – the unknown – and companies feel a need to assess their “risk” in dealing with you. Of course, you won’t be asked these questions outright, but those who want to rate your “risk level” are turning more than ever to specialized “consumer reports” to find out more about you.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) covers reports about your overall financial health. Credit reports allow a lender to see whether you pay your bills on time, have filed for bankruptcy, or have an outstanding court judgment or collection action against you.
However, despite its name, the Fair Credit Reporting Act covers a lot more than simply credit reports. Credit reports are just one of a broader category of consumer reports covered by the FCRA. To learn more about your credit reporting rights, see PRC Fact Sheet 6, How Private Is My Credit Report?, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs6-crdt.htm.
Specialty reporting companies focus on certain industries. Their reports can may include information about you provided to employers, insurance companies, banks, and landlords. In recent years, many new companies have sprouted, compiling reports specifically targeted at employers, insurers, and landlords. The companies that compile reports for targeted users are “consumer reporting agencies” under the FCRA, just like the three national credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Companies that compile reports on consumers for other than credit are known as “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies.” These agencies compile reports about much more than just your credit history. Here are a few examples of the types of reports that they compile:
- Medical conditions (for example, MIB Group (formerly the Medical Information Bureau) report)
- Residential or tenant history and evictions (for example, Experian's RentBureau)
- Check writing history (for example, ChexSystems)
- Employment background checks (for example, LexisNexis Screening Solutions)
- Homeowner and auto insurance claims (for example, CLUE reports)
The “specialty” subcategory of consumer reporting agencies was specifically identified in amendments to the FCRA made by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) (FCRA sec. 612 (a)(1)(C)). To learn more about FACTA see PRC Fact Sheet 6a, FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: Consumers Win Some, Lose Some, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs6a-facta.htm.
FACTA gives consumers the right to a free credit report from the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) once every 12 months. For more about your right to free credit reports, see:
- Federal Trade Commission publication, Your Access to Free Credit Reports www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm
- The shared Web site of the three credit bureaus, www.annualcreditreport.com.
FACTA also gives consumers the right to a free report from a "nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency" once every 12 months.
This fact sheet includes information about nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies as well as other companies that offer consumers free access to their reports.
What information goes into a “specialty” report?
Specialty consumer reporting agencies operate much like the credit bureaus. The agencies collect information about you from a variety of sources, including:
- Public records of criminal or civil cases
- Your credit history
- Bankruptcy filings
- Companies with which you have an existing or prior business relationship, such as insurance companies or banks
- Your medical information
- Driving records
From this information, the specialty reporting agency compiles reports based on the requirements of targeted users such as insurance companies, employers, and landlords.
How do I know if there’s a specialty report on me?
Unfortunately, most consumers are in the dark about the very existence of specialty consumer reports. Usually people learn about specialty reports only after having been denied a job, insurance, or an apartment rental.
What’s involved in making a specialty report?
Like credit reports, the FCRA imposes certain obligations on the specialty reporting companies, users of such reports, and those that furnish information that goes into compiling the reports. The FCRA also gives you, the subject of the report, certain rights.
In addition, just like the credit bureaus, specialty reporting agencies do not make decisions about whether to rent you an apartment, give you a job, or write an insurance policy. Those decisions are left up to the landlord, employer or insurance company.
Following is a brief summary of how the FCRA treats each of the “players” involved:
- Furnishers, that is, those that feed information to a consumer reporting agency, have an obligation to furnish only accurate information. This holds true whether the furnisher provides information to a credit bureau, tenant screening agency, medical information service, or other entities that meet the definition of “consumer reporting agency".
Providers of information also have an obligation to update and correct inaccurate information. For more on the obligations of furnishers under the FCRA, see the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publication, What Information Providers Need to Know, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/credit/bus33.shtm.
- Users of specialty consumer reports include landlords, insurers, and employers. Just like a lender who turns down your loan application, users of specialty consumer reports must give you what’s called an “adverse action notice” along with a copy of your report. So, if you’ve been turned down for an apartment rental based on a report, or if you are denied an insurance policy due to information on a report, you are entitled to a copy of that report. For more on the obligations of these users, see these FTC publications:
- Consumer Reports: What Insurers Need to Know,
- Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know,
- Using Consumer Reports: What Landlords Need to Know,
- Consumer Reports: What Insurers Need to Know,
- Nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies, like the credit bureaus, have certain obligations when making reports about you. For example, reports can only be issued for purposes allowed by the FCRA. There are time limits on how long negative information can be reported. When you dispute information, the reporting agency has an obligation to investigate and correct any inaccurate or outdated information. A reporting agency that compiles public record information for employment purposes has an additional obligation under the FCRA when that information is likely to have an adverse effect on your ability to get a job.
- You have the right to a free copy of your consumer report when an adverse action is taken against you based on something in the report. An adverse action would be if you are turned down for employment, are denied insurance or are charged a higher premium, are denied a rental, or are not permitted to open a checking account based on some negative information in your check writing history report. You have the right to dispute inaccurate information in any consumer report prepared about you.
In addition to the free report you are entitled to get if you are turned down for employment, a rental, insurance, or a checking account, you can order a free copy of your specialty report directly from the nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency. You are entitled to one free report from each specialty agency once every 12 months. This fact sheet also includes information about other companies that offer consumers free access to their reports or file.
There is no centralized source for obtaining free specialty reports. Requests must be made directly to each specialty reporting agency. FTC regulations do not require nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies to establish a Web site or allow mail-in requests. The only requirement is that specialty agencies establish a toll-free number, published anywhere the company does business. Requests processed otherwise such as through a Web site or by mail are optional, although many nationwide specialty agencies have posted information on their Web sites.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued CFPB Bulletin 2012-09 reminding nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies that they must give consumers an easy way to get a free copy of their specialty reports.
Specialty reporting agencies also:
- May collect only as much information as necessary to identity you, generally the same information necessary for a free credit report (name, address, Social Security number).
- Must give you, if you ask, an update on the status of your request. However, there is no time limit on when your request must be processed.
- Must provide a “help” or “frequently asked questions” screen if requests are processed online.
The FTC’s web site gives further information about your rights to get free credit and specialty reports, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre34.shtm.
The following sections of this guide include information we have gathered about access to specialty consumer reports and other similar reports. For some specialty reports, one or two companies dominate the market. This means it will be easier for you to find out where to direct your request. For other areas, such as employment and rental history, specialty reports may be prepared by many different companies.
One company, LexisNexis, maintains a wide variety of information on consumers, including insurance claims, employment, and tenant history. The company has information on its Web site about how to obtain these three types of free specialty reports individually (https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/).
Will I get the same information the insurer, landlord, employer, or other business gets?
Although this guide and other publications generally refer to free “reports,” the FCRA technically gives you the right to a free “file disclosure.” There is a difference under the FCRA between your “report” and your “file.”
Under the FCRA, a “consumer report” is:
…any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living ….(FCRA §609(d)(1))
Your “file” is:
…all of the information on [you] recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored. (FCRA §609(g))
In other words, the report is the document provided to the employer, landlord, insurer or creditor. The report reflects information collected and compiled at any given time. Your “file” on the other hand is the information the consumer reporting agency maintains about you. Your right to a free disclosure is to your “file,” not your “report.”
Specialty reports that tell insurers about claims you have made against your homeowner’s or automobile insurance polices are prepared by two companies: LexisNexis and Verisk ISO Insurance Services. For more on insurance claims reports, see PRC Fact Sheet 26, CLUE and You: How Insurers Size You Up, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs26-CLUE.htm.
To request a free Verisk ISO A-Plus loss-history report, call their Consumer Report Request Line at 800-627-3487. For additional information on how to order your free A-Plus Report from Verisk ISO, see http://www.verisk.com/underwriting/how-to-order-your-free-a-plus-loss-history-report.html
To order your automobile or homeowner’s CLUE report, call the LexisNexis toll-free number, (866) 312-8076, or visit the LexisNexis web site at https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/fact_act_claims_bundle/landing.jsp.
The Affordable Care Act makes it unlawful for a health insurer to deny coverage or charge a higher premium to an applicant with a pre-existing condition. However, medical and prescription drug history reports may still be used by insurers to evaluate applicants for other types of insurance.
MIB Group Inc. (formerly The Medical Information Bureau) is a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains records concerning individual life, health, long-term care, and disability insurance. Generally, you will have an MIB file only if you have applied for one of these insurance products within the last seven years, and only if you’ve applied as an individual rather than as a member of a group.
If you have no significant medical condition and have not applied for insurance as an individual, you are not likely to have an MIB report. The report includes information that you have reported on an insurance application or that the insurance company has obtained from your healthcare provider indicating a medical condition that insurance companies consider significant. In all, MIB assigns from among 230 codes that indicate medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and so on.
MIB’s toll-free number for disclosure is (866) 692-6901 (TTY (866) 346-3642 for hearing impaired) For more on free reports from MIB, see the company’s web site, http://www.mib.com/request_your_record.html.
IntelliScript and MedPoint are databases that report prescription drug purchase histories to insurance companies. Like the MIB reports, IntelliScript and MedPoint reports are used primarily when consumers are seeking private health, life or disability insurance. Prescription drug databases can go back as far as five years, detailing drugs used as well as dosage and refills.
With a history of prescription drugs in hand, insurers may make assumptions about medical conditions and assess the risk of writing an insurance policy. Information in an IntelliScript or MedPoint report may prompt an insurer to deny coverage for certain conditions, increase insurance premiums, or deny coverage altogether. Such adverse actions by insurance companies trigger a sequence of consumer rights under the FCRA.
Until recently, use of prescription drug databases was unknown to consumers. Insurers' use of these databases first came to light in 2007 when the FTC sued Milliman, the owner of the IntelliScript database, and Ingenix, Inc., former owner of the MedPoint database. www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/09/ingenixmilliman.shtm
The FTC claimed that the companies are consumer reporting agencies subject to the FCRA. Both cases were settled without the data brokers paying a monetary penalty, but Milliman and Ingenix agreed to follow the FCRA. This means, among other things, that consumers who apply for private insurance and are turned down because of something in an IntelliScript or MedPoint report are entitled to a copy of the report from their insurance company and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy of information in the report.
You can read more about these companies and how their data is used to assess consumers at http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2008-08-04/business/36810357_1_prescription-drug-federal-health-ingenix
Individuals who have applied for individual health, life, or disability insurance may also request a copy of any prescription report directly from MedPoint or IntelliScript. Reports are available once a year whether or not there has been an adverse decision by an insurance company.
You can request a copy of your OptumInsight (formerly Ingenix) MedPoint report by calling (888) 206-0335 or by requesting information at http://www.optuminsight.com/contact-us/customer-support/ and selecting "Medpoint Compliance (Consumer Requests)" from the dropdown menu. You can read more about the product at http://www.optuminsight.com/~/media/Ingenix/Resources/Downloads/Product%20Sheets/MedPoint_for_Risk_Assessment_ps_08_2012.pdf.
IntelliScript reports are available by calling the toll-free request line at (877) 211-4816. Consumers will have to provide their full name, date of birth, last four digits of their Social Security number and current zip code. Milliman will provide a copy of any information the company has on an individual as well as the names of insurance companies that have requested a prescription history. The company's Web site includes information about the product as well as additional contact information. http://www.rxhistories.com/RequestAReport/
For more about medical information and your privacy, see PRC Fact Sheet 8, How Private Is My Medical Information?, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm, and PRC Fact Sheet 8a, HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic Age, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8a-hipaa.htm.
A number of companies prepare reports for landlords concerning individuals who have applied to rent housing.
- LexisNexis Screening Solutions Resident History Report contains information related to your tenant history as well as other information regarding your background. Call toll-free (877) 448-5732 or visit https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/index.jsp to obtain a copy of your report.
- Experian RentBureau receives rental payment data from its national network of property management companies. This data is accessed by resident screening companies for use during the application process for prospective residents. Consumers may order their Rental History Report by using the form at http://www.experian.com/assets/rentbureau/brochures/request_form.pdf or by calling (877) 704-4519.
- CoreLogic Safe Rent may have criminal and/or landlord-tenant records as well as
rental performance history. Consumers may obtain a copy of their consumer file by calling (800) 815-8664. For more information go to http://www.corelogic.com/landing-pages/rental-screening-analytics.aspx#container-Consumers.
- Tenant Data provides the rental industry with a variety of reports including rental performance history, bad check reports, and criminal history reports. Consumers may order their free report by completing the form at http://www.tenantdata.com/downloads/AuthorizationforFileDisclos_new.pdf or by calling (800) 228-1837.
- Contemporary Information Corp. (CIC) provides property management software that provides landlords with the ability to screen applicants and apply their information to easy to use leasing forms. Consumers may order their free report by filling out the online form at http://www.cicreports.com/consumer-disputes/ or by calling (800) 288-4757 and selecting Option 5.
Consumers may have a particularly difficult time exercising their right to a free specialty report when the “specialty” market is saturated with agencies. This may prove to be the case for tenants who want to check their file. If you learn you will be subject to a tenant screen, you may save yourself a lot of time and trouble by simply asking the landlord the name and contact information for the screening company.
The following companies report on your check writing history:
- ChexSystems is a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency that collects and maintains information from member financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If a bank closes your checking account because of insufficient funds, for example, it will make a report to ChexSystems that other banks will check when you apply for new accounts. You can read more about how ChexSystems tracks your banking history at http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/16/pf/bank-account-history/index.html. You may call (800) 428-9623 or visit www.consumerdebit.com/consumerinfo/us/en/chexsystems/report/index.htm to obtain your free report.
- Shared Check Authorization Network (SCAN) maintains a database of returned checks and instances of fraud. It provides check authorization and verification to member retailers. Call (800) 262-7771 or visit http://www.nobouncedchecks.com/SCAN-check.html to obtain your free report.
- TeleCheck also maintains a database of returned checks and instances of fraud. It provides check authorization and verification to member retailers. Call (800) 835-3243 or visit http://www.firstdata.com/telecheck/telecheck-request-file-report.htm to obtain your free report.
- Certegy Check Services collects check writing histories and provides check screening services for retailers who accept checks as payment in their stores. Call (866) 543-6315 or visit https://www.askcertegy.com/FACT.jsp to obtain your free report. In August 2013, Certegy agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/08/certegy.shtm
- Early Warning Services assists payment processors and check acceptance companies by providing real-time verification against high-risk accounts and identifying items at the point-of-sale with a high likelihood of returning unpaid. Call (800) 325-7775 to obtain your free report. Visit http://www.earlywarning.com/consumer-information.html for more information.
Obtaining a free copy of your employment report may be a frustrating exercise – unless you know the name the company that performs the background screening. Employees and job applicants do have some additional rights under the FCRA regarding access to background check reports. For example, the employer must give you notice that a background screening may be conducted, and the employer must get your permission. Notice and permission must be given on a separate document, not buried in an application or another form.
Unfortunately, under the FCRA an employer need not tell you the name of the company that will screen you. This appears to us to be a significant loophole in the law. Under California law, on the other hand, an employer must give you this information up front, when you are given the notice and permission documents to sign.(California Civil Code §1786.12(2)(B)(iv)) In addition, California laws allows you to get a copy of your report for two years. (California Civil Code 1786.11))
For more on employment background checks in California, see PRC Fact Sheet 16a, Employment Background Checks in California: New Focus on Accuracy, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs16a-califbck.htm.
The national standard, set by the FCRA, does not require an employer to tell you the name of the screening company or tell you how to get a copy of your report. The employer need only give you a copy of the report if he or she decides not to hire you or denies you a promotion if you are a current employee. But it’s important that you keep in mind -- your right to a free employment report does not hinge on the employer’s action.
To say you have the right to a free specialty employment report means little if you don’t know where to look. That’s because hundreds of companies are now engaged in employment background screening. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners lists over 300 member background check companies. www.napbs.com/
If you are given notice by an employer that a background check will be conducted, we strongly suggest you ask for the name of the screening company at that time. Even when you know the name of the screening company, this may be a “hollow” right. You can only get free disclosure if the company maintains a file on you. Some employment screeners may simply evaluate you and then issue a one-time report without maintaining a file. For this reason, we suggest you make your request for a free disclosure to the screening agency soon after you get notice that a report may be prepared.
The LexisNexis Screening Solutions Employment History Report contains information related to your employment history as well as other information regarding your background. You can get your free file disclosure by contacting the company at:
- Toll-free number: (866) 312-8075
- Web: https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/index.jsp
If you have ever worked in the retail industry, your name may appear in little-known databases that identify former retail employees questioned or fired regarding an alleged theft. Such databases like the one maintained by background screener First Advantage Corporation's Esteem database, do not include an arrest or conviction. Rather, the data included is often a name along with a vague reference to an incident involving a retail employee. To receive a free file disclosure from First Advantage Corporation, see the company’s request form.
Another background screener, HireRite, maintains what is called the National Theft Database which records incidents of shoplifting and retail theft. To request information from HireRight see the company’s Consumer Inquiries section.
The Work Number provides employment data reports, which are entirely different from the employment background screening reports discussed in the previous section. Employment Data Reports are limited to basic employment information (such as name of employer, dates of employment, salary, and job title) obtained from participating employers. The Work Number is an employment and income verification service. It is not a background screening service.
Essentially, the Work Number permits companies to outsource certain payroll and human resource functions. Thus, it operates somewhat differently than a typical consumer reporting agency in that it only collects information from the employers with which it has contracts. The Work Number maintains information on at least 30% of the U.S. working population. It is operated by TALX Corporation, which is owned by the credit reporting agency Equifax.
In a January 2013 investigative report, MSNBC journalist Bob Sullivan revealed that Equifax sells employees' employment information to debt collectors and other financial services companies. http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/30/16762661-exclusive-your-employer-may-share-your-salary-and-equifax-might-sell-that-data?lite.
The Work Number will provide you with one free Employment Data Report every 12 months. You can obtain a free annual disclosure by calling TALX directly at (866) 604-6570 or by going to https://www.theworknumber.com/Employees/DataReport/. You can download the Employment Data Report Request form and follow the instructions to complete and return the form to TALX Corporation. Once your request is received, your Employment Data Report will be mailed to you within 15 days.
If you believe information in your Employment Data Report is inaccurate, you may contact the Work Number’s Client Service Center at (800) 996-7566 to have your dispute investigated. Your information will be blocked from verifiers during the reinvestigation. Results of the reinvestigation will be provided within 30 days of receipt of a dispute.
LexisNexis provides a broad range of information to both businesses and government for numerous purposes including identity authentication, employment screening, fraud prevention, claims management, and debt collection. Information provided by LexisNexis includes public records, other publicly available information, and some non-public information.
Public records include records created and maintained by government agencies that are open for public inspection. This includes information such as real estate title records, liens, death records, and motor vehicle registrations.
Publicly available information is information about an individual that is available to the general public from non-governmental sources such as newspapers, magazine articles and telephone directories.
Some LexisNexis products contain non-public information, which may not be readily available to the general public. Non-public information is information about an individual obtained from a source that is privately owned and that is not available to the general public including commercial directories or databases compiled by other publishers. Non-public information may include the following information: current and previous addresses; Social Security Number; previous names used, such as alias names, maiden names or previous married names; birth date information; and/or telephone numbers.
According to LexisNexis, some of its products are considered to be subject to the FCRA, while others are not. Likewise, not all of the LexisNexis reports are necessarily considered consumer specialty reports. However, LexisNexis will provide individuals with a copy of the information about themselves contained in the so-called "Person Report" products distributed through its Accurint information services division. These reports tend to be much more comprehensive than the other reports discussed in this fact sheet, and go well beyond typical specialty reports in terms of types of information provided. You can see a sample LexisNexis Accurint Comprehensive Report here: https://w3.lexis.com/consumeraccess2.0/sample/person_report.htm
Consumers can request a copy of their Person Report found in the Accurint services by using the form at www.lexisnexis.com/privacy/for-consumers/request-personal-information.aspx. Consumers also will need to mail or fax copies of 2 forms of identification. One must be a government-issued ID. A utility bill showing your name and your current address may serve as the other form of ID.
Consumers can also order a copy of their Person Report by mailing a printable form available from the same link. Again, two forms of identification are required, and one must be a government-issued ID.
Person Reports will be returned by U.S. mail approximately 30 to 60 days after LexisNexis receives proof of identification. Consumers with questions about the LexisNexis Consumer Access Program can call (888) 332-8244, select Option 1, and dial extension 999-4498.
A LexisNexis Full File Disclosure includes both the consumer’s file and a public records search. You can see what information about you is maintained in LexisNexis files. This is the information that is used by LexisNexis to create consumer reports. These consumer reports may be sold to businesses with a legitimate business need for that information. The public records search will contain information available in county, state or federal public records such as real estate transaction and ownership data, lien, judgment and bankruptcy records, professional license information, and historical addresses.
The LexisNexis Full File Disclosure will include data from its specialty reports as well as additional information. The disclosure includes your CLUE reports (described in Section 4 above), current insurance carrier reports, a pre-employment background check (only if one has been previously ordered by an employer), criminal records information, and additional information that may be available in LexisNexis files. For a more complete description of the information included see https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/access_your_personal_information_faq.jsp
LexisNexis offers consumers their Full File Disclosure free of charge once per year. A Full File Disclosure is available only to a consumer that requests their own file, when the request is submitted with proper identity authentication. Businesses and government agencies cannot order your LexisNexis Full File Disclosure, but they are entitled, with legitimate business purposes, to order some of the reports that comprise your LexisNexis Full File Disclosure for the business-related activities they conduct.
To order your Full File Disclosure, read the instructions and download the forms at https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/access_your_personal_information.jsp The form must be mailed with the required identity authentication docments. Once LexisNexis has verified your identity, all information will be mailed to the address you provide on the request form.
National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) is a
consumer reporting agency that maintains customer data reported by
utility service providers that are members of NCTUE. These providers
include cellular, local, and long distance phone companies, cable and
pay TV services, internet service providers, and electricity, gas, and
water utilities. The data includes information about a consumer’s
account history, unpaid closed accounts and customer service
applications. Based upon this information, providers make their own
decisions on whether or not a deposit for service is required from the
Consumers may obtain a free NCTUE Disclosure Report containing the information in their data report. NCTUE does not receive information from service provider. Therefore, they may not have a Disclosure Report for everyone. To request a copy of your NCTUE Disclosure Report, call (866) 349-5185. You can also mail your request to:
NCTUE Disclosure Report
P.O. Box 105161
Atlanta, GA 30374
If you believe that any item contained in your NCTUE report is incomplete or inaccurate, NCTUE will investigate the matter. Complete and return the Research Request form included in the disclosure report and provide details of the information you believe is inaccurate.
Some consumers make little or no use of banks and other traditional financial providers. Instead they may utilize alternative financial services such as payday lenders, prepaid cards, check cashing services, and installment and online lenders. Consumers who use such services are sometimes referred to as "underbanked" consumers and the providers are sometimes called "fringe" or "alternative" providers.
These alternative financial providers generally do not report to the three nationwide credit bureaus. Since these providers do not report to the "Big 3" credit bureaus, it can be difficult for potential creditors to find out about your financial activity when you need credit. Several alternative consumer reports fill this gap.
- CoreLogic Credco's CoreScore tracks and issues reports on accounts and other data not typically found in traditional reports. CoreScore databases contain nearly 1 billion consumer transaction records covering 99.9 percent of the U.S. population including payday lending, installment and rent-to-own information not typically found in the "Big 3" nationwide credit reports. You can obtain your CoreScore credit report by calling (877) 532-8778 or by following the instructions at http://www.credco.com/consumer/obtain-corescore-credit-report.aspx.
- Clarity Services provides several consumer reports focusing non-traditional data sources from alternative financial services providers that do not report to the traditional credit bureaus. These sources include buy-here-pay-here auto dealers, check cashers, prepaid card issuers, short-term installment lenders, peer-to-peer micro lenders, payday lenders, online payday lenders. Consumers may obtain their report by following the instructions at http://www.clarityservices.com/support/annual_disclosure.
- FactorTrust's Consumer Risk Indicator Score (CRIS) has more than 100 million proprietary transaction records covering more than 99 percent of underbanked consumers. You can obtain your report by completing the form at http://ws.factortrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/FactorTrustCustomerInquiry.pdf.
- DataX provides consumer payment history for the non-prime lending community. You may obtain your report by completing the form at http://consumers.dataxltd.com/annualCreditReport
- MicroBilt's PRBC Consumer Credit Report provides alternative credit. Obtain your report by calling (877) PRBC-123 and pressing Option 1 or by following the instructions at http://www.microbilt.com/consumer-dispute.aspx.
We encourage consumers to find out about the information that is stored with consumer reporting agencies. Doing so enables you to detect inaccuracies that might result in the denial of financial or other benefits, or that might indicate the presence of fraud or other misuse of your information. However, ordering all of your reports will be time-consuming. Even though it’s free, there is probably no need to expend the time and effort to get every report available to you.
You have the right to choose the reports that you want to see based on your individual needs. Here are our recommendations for situations in which you probably will want to order one or more of your specialty reports:
- If you are shopping for new homeowner’s or automobile insurance, order a copy of your CLUE or A-Plus claims report. And if you have filed claims on existing policies, it’s a good idea to check the report to make sure the information is accurate. Sometimes, simply calling an insurance agent with a question can result in a “black mark” to your CLUE or A-Plus report. You will want to make sure that such inquiries are removed.
- If someone has fraudulently cashed checks against your account or you have for some reason had problems with your checking or savings account, order your checkwriting history reports.
- If a potential or existing employer asks your permission to run a background check, ask for the name of the screening company. Contact the company as soon as the report has been issued because screening companies may not maintain permanent files.
- If you have been a victim of identity theft, we recommend you order all available reports. Remember, insurers, landlords, employers, and banks have permissible purposes for accessing your credit report. Information in your specialty report may overlap information in your credit report. It is important to correct inaccuracies no matter where they appear.
- If you want to rent an apartment or home, ask the landlord for the name of the tenant screening company he or she uses, if any. There are many companies involved in this market and you will need to know where to look to exercise your right to a free report.
- If you are applying for private life, long-term care, or disability insurance, order your MIB report. If your reports contain erroneous information, you will want to make sure it is corrected before you apply for insurance.
- If you are applying for a new job, you will want to obtain your Employment Data Report from the Work Number if you have ever worked for a company that uses their service. You will also want to obtain a LexisNexis Full File Disclosure.
- For a good overall "check-up," you may wish to order your LexisNexis Full File Disclosure and your Lexis-Nexis Accurint Person Report.
Laws and Regulations
- Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by FACTA,
- FTC’s final regulations about free credit and specialty consumer reports,
- California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, CA Civil Code 1786 et seq.
Federal Trade Commission Publications
- Obligations of Furnishers of Information under the FCRA
- Obligations of Users of Information under the FCRA
- Consumer Reports: What Insurers Need to Know
- Credit Reports: What Information Providers Need to Know
- Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know
- Using Consumer Reports: What Landlords Need to Know
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Publications
- Fact Sheet 6. How Private Is My Credit Report?
- Fact Sheet 6a. FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: Consumers Win Some, Lose Some
- Fact Sheet 8. How Private Is My Medical Information?
- Fact Sheet 16. Employment Background Checks: A Jobseeker's Guide
- Fact Sheet 16a. Employment Background Checks in California: New Focus on Accuracy
- Fact Sheet 26. CLUE and You: How Insurers Size You Up
Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) Publications
- List of consumer reporting companies: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_list_consumer-reporting-agencies.pdf
- CFPB Bulletin 2012-09, The FCRA’s “streamlined process” requirement for consumers to obtain free annual reports from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201211_cfpb_NSCRA_Bulletin.pdf
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Who We Are
We are a nationally recognized consumer education and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to protecting the privacy of American consumers.