The Impact of Specialty Reports
In previous DebtEdge articles, we’re learned how to read our credit reports, looked at the importance of monitoring your credit report for errors, and reviewed the basic steps to correct any errors found. But did you know there are other specialty reports that also record data from your personal history?
These reports can also have a significant impact on your life from the apartment you live in, jobs you are offered, insurance rates you’ll pay or whether you will be able to make a return or exchange at a major national chain.
Consumer advocates say that although it may not be necessary to review a copy of all your specialty reports regularly, it is advisable to review specific specialty reports prior to conducting certain types of business.
For example, if you are planning on renting a new apartment it could be a smart move to check out your rental history.
Considering applying for homeowner’s insurance with a new carrier? Your CLUE report will list claims made on your previous policies and some insurer’s will use that information to determine what products to offer and/or rates to charge.
Your medical history report will be checked when you apply for long-term care insurance.
Searching for a new job? Yes, there’s an employment history report.
Returning that awful sweater your cousin gave you during the holidays? Better check with The Return Exchange. Many major national chains are utilizing their data storage and analysis of return activity and patterns to determine fraud or abuse at the point of return.
Despite the fact that you can review these reports per the FACT Act, finding access to them may prove more problematic. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required the Big Three to make available a centralized location and manner for requesting your credit report, however, that is not the case for specialty reports.
Some of the dominant players in the specialty report arena include ChoicePoint, ChexSystems, The MIB Group and The Return Exchange.
One consumer advocacy group, The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, does maintain a listing on their website (www.privacyrights.org) of where specialty reports may be found.
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