Once you have applied for a charge account, rented a place, bought a car, obtained insurance, got a personal loan, lived in an apartment, was evicted or sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy, there is a file about you.
Consumer Reporting Agencies, gather and sell such information about consumers to creditors, employers, landlords and other businesses.
The Federal Trade Commission through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, places certain requirements on the Credit Reporting Agencies, on the businesses that supply information about you to the CRAs and protects your rights to privacy and to recourse, if the information on your credit report is inaccurate.
It is always a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report before you apply for an apartment. Here is the list of the three best known Credit Reporting Agencies:
Atlanta, GA, 30374
Consumer Disclosure Center
Chester, PA 19022
Allen, TX 75013-2104
If you request a copy of your credit report by mail, make sure you include the following:
- letter requesting copy of your credit report, with your complete name and address;
- previous address, if you have moved in the last two years;
- social security number;
- date of birth;
- copy of your driver's license.
Companies that gather and sell this information are called Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau. The information CRAs sell about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a consumer report.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, is designed to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of the information used in consumer reports. Recent amendments to the Act expand your rights and place additional requirements on CRAs. Businesses that supply information about you to CRAs and those that use consumer reports also have new responsibilities under the law. Note that you may have additional rights under state laws. Contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for more information.