If you want to buy a house, get a new credit card, buy a car, or even get a job, you realize that someone may have to look at your personal financial information to decide if you are qualified. You are willing to share this information because you know it’s necessary to get what you want. However, when a lender, employer, or landlord accesses your credit report without your knowledge or permission, this is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and you may be able to sue for damages. Learn more about your right to privacy here.
Who Can Access Your Credit Report?
Only entities with a “valid need” can request a copy of your credit report. Those entities could include the following:
- Insurance providers
- Utility companies
- Government agencies
- Debt collection agencies
- Employers, but only with your written permission
Generally, any entity with a legitimate business need to access your credit it permitted to do so under the law. However, not only must they be a legitimate entity, they must also have a permissible reason to see your personal financial information.
Reasons Your Credit Report May Be Pulled
Even an authorized agency could violate your privacy by requesting your credit report for an impermissible reason. Legitimate purposes include the following:
- Reviewing a credit application
- Taking collection action on an existing account
- Reviewing an insurance application
- Making offers of credit or insurance
- Hiring, firing, or transferring an employee, but only with your written permission
- Acting under a court order
- Reviewing applications for certain government benefits
There are a host of impermissible reasons for pulling a credit report, including using it as evidence in a civil or criminal case without a court order or seeing if you have assets before deciding to sue you for debt.
When Someone Breaks the Law, What Can You Do?
If a credit reporting agency, information furnisher, or entity requesting your credit report broke the law in their actions, you may be able to sue them for actual damages (the amount of money you lost because of their actions) and statutory damages (a fine of between $100 and $1000). Contact me at the Cardoza Law Corporation if you believe your FCRA rights were violated. I will evaluate your claim and let you know if I can help, all at no charge to you! Call me toll free at 855.982.2400 or contact me online today.