Frequently Asked Questions about Telemarketing


Fact Sheet 5bFrequently Asked Questions about Telemarketing

How Private Is My Credit Report?


Fact Sheet 6How Private Is My Credit Report?

Credit reports are a gold mine of information about consumers. They contain Social Security number, date of birth, current and previous addresses, telephone number (including unlisted numbers), credit payment status, employment, even legal information.

Facts on FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act


Fact Sheet 6aFacts on FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA) added new sections to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), intended primarily to help consumers fight the growing crime of identity theft. Accuracy, privacy, limits on information sharing, and new consumer rights to disclosure are included in FACTA. (Pub. L. 108-159, 111 Stat. 1952)

This is all good news for consumers. However, consumers came out on the losing end when Congress virtually barred states from adopting stronger laws. Read our Fact Sheet for a summary and update of FACTA provisions.

"Other" Consumer Reports: What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports


Fact Sheet 6b"Other" Consumer Reports:
What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports

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. Consumer reports can also include reports about you made 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 have been designated by Congress 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, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) report)
  • Residential or tenant history and evictions (for example, the Unlawful Detainer (UD) Registry)
  • Check writing history (for example ChexSystems)
  • Employment background checks
  • Homeowner and auto insurance claims (for example, CLUE reports)

Your Credit Score: How It All Adds Up


Fact Sheet 6cYour Credit Score:
How It All Adds Up

For a three-digit number, your credit score packs a big wallop. A low score can thrust you into the financial abyss of the sub-prime market, costing you thousands of dollars in added interest over the life of a car loan or mortgage. Consumers who have a very low score --or no score at all-- may not get credit on any terms.

A quick glance at this single bit of information gives creditors all they feel they need to make judgments about whether you will repay a car loan, mortgage or credit card debt. Your score is a snapshot of your credit report, giving creditors instant clues about how you pay your bills, how you've handled credit over the years and even whether financial troubles have led you into the courts.

Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring


Fact Sheet 7Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring

Employers want to be sure their employees are doing a good job, but employees don't want their every sneeze or trip to the water cooler logged. That's the essential conflict of workplace monitoring.

New technologies make it possible for employers to monitor many aspects of their employees' jobs, especially on telephones, computer terminals, through electronic and voice mail, and when employees are using the Internet. Such monitoring is virtually unregulated. Therefore, unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), your employer may listen, watch and read most of your workplace communications.

Read our guide to learn more about workplace privacy issues.

Medical Records Privacy


Fact Sheet 8Medical Records Privacy

HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic Age


Fact Sheet 8aHIPAA Basics:
Medical Privacy in the Electronic Age

Today you have more reason than ever to care about the privacy of your medical information. Intimate details you revealed in confidence to your doctor were once stored in locked file cabinets and on dusty shelves in the medical records department.

Now, sensitive information about your physical and mental health will almost certainly end up in data files. Your records may be seen by hundreds of strangers who work in health care, the insurance industry, and a host of businesses associated with medical organizations. What's worse, your private medical information is now a valuable commodity for marketers who want to sell you something.

Medical Privacy FAQ


Fact Sheet 8bMedical Privacy FAQ

Wiretapping and Eavesdropping on Telephone Calls


Fact Sheet 9Wiretapping and Eavesdropping on Telephone Calls
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