Can A Debt Collector Look At Your Credit Report?

by Karen Oakes, Esq.

December 22, 2007

The simple answer is yes, they can. They can look at a debtor’s credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act statute–it is one of the permissible purposes that the Act allows (FCRA Sec 604(3)(A)) However, the debt collector cannot review your spouse’s report if your spouse is not obligated on that debt–or anyone else in the family’s report.
If you are being contacted by a debt collector, you should check your credit report. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit consumer information and advocacy organization, recommends checking your report at least every 12 months. Sometimes debt collectors start reporting the account they are collecting while the original creditor continues to report that same account. Dual reporting on the same account can affect your credit score. For more information on your privacy rights, click here.

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.

Last modified: October 22, 2012