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Don’t Let These Secret Bureaus Spoil Your Credit

Do think you have all your bases covered by reviewing your three credit bureau reports for errors annually? Think again. In addition to the three main credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax there are dozens of “specialty” national consumer reporting agencies you may never have heard of that have information about you in their data banks…and it may be wrong and costing you dearly.

Specialty reporting agencies gather information about you for specific industries. Many times their information is more detailed than the big three bureaus and cover specific areas such as gambling, medical records, check bouncing, insurance, rental history and employment. If you’re being vetted for a loan, insurance, a new apartment or even a promotion at work, your application review may include a report from a specialty bureau. But is the information in those reports accurate?

Among the better known specialty reporters are: ChexSystems, SCAN and Telecheck, all of whom have records of your bounced checks; the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) that sells a report of your medical claims history and ChoiceTrust, which sells auto and homeowners claim histories as well as employment and rental data. And just like the big three credit reporting bureaus, these agencies may have errors and out of date information about you in their files. Errors that may result in higher costs or even denial of your application.

If you’re like most people, you may not have known about these consumer reporting agencies, or that you have the right to see what is in your file and get any errors corrected at no cost. The FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act) section that updated the FCRA (Federal Credit Reporting Act) gives you expanded rights when it comes to your credit. Among the most pertinent rights are that you have the right to know what is in your file. So, if you ask, they have to provide you with a copy of all the information about you in their files. Of course you’ll have to provide them with acceptable identification so they can be sure it’s you who is asking for your record.

That identification may include your Social Security number. You are entitled to one free disclosure every 12 months upon request from each nationwide credit bureau and from nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies. (See for additional information.)You are also entitled to a free copy once a year and also if someone has taken adverse action against you because of information in your report; you are the victim of identity theft and place a fraud alert in your file; if your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud; if you are on public assistance or if you are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days.

Once you get a copy of your report, make sure to review it looking for inaccurate or out of date information. Follow the dispute procedure you’ll receive with your report to clean up any inaccuracies. The agency has to investigate your dispute, unless your dispute is frivolous, and correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information usually within 30 days. Here is a partial list of the most popular specialty reporting agencies and phone numbers you can use to contact them.

Bureau NamePhone Number
Global Cash Access (Central Credit)888-898-8021
Early Warning Services800-325-7775
Accurate Background800-784-3911
American DataBank800-200-0853
First Advantage800-321-4473
Lexis Nexis866-312-8075
Trak 1 Technology918-779-7000
Verifications Inc.877-884-1313
The Work Number866-604-6570
ID AnalyticsWeb only
C.L.U.E. Auto History866-312-8076
C.L.U.E. Homeowners’ History866-312-8076
Insurance Information Exchange866-560-7015
ISO’s A-Plus Auto and Property Databases800-709-8842
Medical Information Bureau (MIB)866-692-6901
Clarity ServicesWeb only
DataXWeb only
Factor Trust866-910-8497
Advantage Tenant800-894-9047
American Tenant Screen800-888-1287
Contemporary Information Corp.800-288-4757
Resident History Report877-448-5732
Core Logic Safe Rent888-333-2413
Leasing Desk866-934-1124
LexisNexis Resident History866-312-8075
National Tenant Network800-228-0989
Tenant Data Services800-228-1837
CoreScore Credit Report877-532-8778
National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange866-343-2821

You can get a look at a summary of all your rights under the FCRA at the Federal trade Commission site.

About the author

Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci

Steve Bucci has been helping people decode and master personal finance issues for over 20 years. He is the author of Credit Management Kit For Dummies, Credit Repair Kit For Dummies, and Co-author of Managing Your Money All-In-One For Dummies and Debt Repair Kit For Dummies (Australia). For over a decade he has authored a popular personal finance column. His advice has been featured on Fox Business News, Yahoo! Personal Finance, and countless newspapers across the nation.

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