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The FCRA and Your Rights

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 and specialty agencies such as agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records and rental history records (credit bureaus also sell your information unless you opt out). This is a summary of your major rights under the FCRA. For more information about your rights and other provisions of the FCRA visit the Federal Trade Commission website at

  • You must be told if information in your file has been used against you. Anyone who uses a credit report or another type of consumer report to deny your application for credit, insurance, or employment or to take another adverse action against you must tell you. The must also tell you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provided the information.

  • You have the right to know what is in your credit file. You may request and obtain all the information about you in the files of a consumer reporting agency. You will be required to provide proper identification, which may include your Social Security number. In many cases, the disclosure will be free. You are entitled to a free file disclosure if:

    • a person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report;
    • you are the victim of identity theft and place a fraud alter in your file;
    • your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud;
    • your are on public assistance;
    • you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.

Note: as of September 2005 all consumers are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies.

  • You have the right to ask for a credit score. Credit scores are numerical summaries of your credit-worthiness based on information from credit bureaus. You may request a credit score from consumer reporting agencies that create scores or distribute scores used in residential real property loans, but you will have to pay for it. In some mortgage transactions, you will receive credit score information for free from the mortgage lender directly.

  • You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information contained in your credit report. If you identify information in your file that is incomplete or inaccurate, and report it to the consumer reporting agency, the agency must investigate unless your dispute is frivolous. See the Federal Trade Commission for details and explanations of dispute procedures.

  • Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected within 30 days. However, a consumer reporting agency may continue to report information it has verified as accurate. Also see what if my credit file contains inaccurate information for more details.

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