By now, most of us know that the “Big 3” credit reporting companies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax) are required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) to provide each consumer a free copy of his or her credit report once every 12 months. These free annual reports from the Big 3 are available at www.annualcreditreport.com. I recommend that everyone take advantage of this opportunity and make sure that what is being reported about you is accurate.
However, the law requiring free annual reports covers more than just the Big 3. It also covers entities that compile, store, and maintain information relating to individuals’ medical records or payments, residential or tenant history, check-writing history, employment history, and/or insurance claims, and report this information to third parties, such as lenders or insurance companies. Why is this important? If you have been denied for health insurance, or wonder why you’re paying so much for car insurance, the information may well be in one of these reports – and it may be wrong. Some of these entities and reports include:
Medical information: Medical Information Bureau; MedPoint (call 888-206-0335 to request a copy); IntelliScript (call 877-211-4816 to request a copy)
Resident History: LexisNexis; SafeRent
Check writing: ChexSystems; TeleCheck
Employment History: LexisNexis; WorkNumber
Auto & Property Insurance: C.L.U.E. Report; ISO Insurance Services
LexisNexis also allows consumers to obtain a report of all information in LexisNexis’ files. This report can be obtained only through a mailed-in request.
Check them out. Call it a Christmas present to yourself. Or your annual financial check-up (no thin gown that won’t stay closed!). Or maybe a New Year’s resolution. Whatever it takes – just do it.