Under federal law, your credit report may not be revealed to anyone or any agency unless you provided permission. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) addresses many matters, including fighting privacy violations. An important facet of the law – enacted in 1970 – limits who and what organizations may access the credit reports as well as the circumstances in doing so.
But, sometimes, credit reports are released without your permission to certain parties. And these situations represent an invasion of privacy. When this occurs, it is time to consider filing a complaint against the credit bureau or potentially taking legal action.
Protecting against careless disclosure
Consumer protection is at the foundation of the FCRA. Not only is the law supposed to protect you from harm stemming from incorrect information on your credit report, but also from invasion of privacy. You as a consumer have the right to know who is seeking information about you and the type of information gathered.
Only people or parties with a “valid need” may receive your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This group may include creditors, employers, insurers, landlords and certain businesses. The credit reporting agencies maintain the responsibility in preventing the careless disclosure of consumer information.
Remember, though, some businesses or organizations — under specific circumstances — may view consumer credit reports without your permission. Those circumstances may stem from a court order if you applied for a government benefit and when determining or changing the amount of child support.
If you suspect that certain parties gained access to your credit information without justifiable reasons under the FCRA, please contact a skilled consumer rights attorney.