20 Sep Investigative Credit Reports And Your Credit
Most people are familiar with a typical consumer report which lists such things as a consumer’s name, address, employment history and credit history. A lesser known, but perhaps more important report is the investigative consumer report.
Investigative consumer reports are reports normally obtained by prospective employers or insurance companies and often contain subjective, opinion information about the consumer.
While a typical consumer report, can, and frequently does, contain inaccurate information, it is at least based on information obtained from creditors, as well as from public records.
The investigative consumer report, usually referred to as a background check, is normally the result of an investigator questioning the neighbors and co-workers of the consumer as to what they know about the consumer.
This type of subjective, opinion information about a consumer is problematic because the opinions of a neighbor or co-worker can be biased, inaccurate and/or based on whether the contact likes or dislikes the consumer.
An adverse investigative consumer report can result in the denial of insurance coverage or employment.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines an investigative consumer report as a report that contains information about a consumers “…character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living…obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer…”
Because of the potential for harm from investigative consumer reports, the FCRA has specific guidelines that must be followed including certain notice requirements.
These requirements, along with a discussion of various types of investigative consumer reports, will be discussed in future articles.
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