SAN DIEGO, CA - The arrival of free credit
reports on December 1st is getting a lot of attention
these days. (www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.htm)
But there is another kind of report, called "specialty
consumer reports," that individuals can obtain at no
charge beginning on the first of the month.
The federal law that requires credit reporting bureaus to
provide free reports is the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act, also known as FACTA. The law also gives
consumers the right to one free report prepared by a
"nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency" that
compiles files on consumers relating to:
-- Medical records or payments (for example, the MIB
-- Residential or tenant history. (for example, the UD
-- Check writing history (for example ChexSystems)
-- Employment history. (for example, background checks
provided by Choicepoint)
-- Insurance claims. (for example, CLUE)
access to a "specialty" report is available December 1,
2004, for all consumers nationwide. This is not subject to
the same phase-in schedule that applies to credit reports.
FTC regulations (www.ftc.gov/os/2004/06/040624factafreeannualfrn.pdf)
require companies that prepare reports on consumers for
employment, insurance claims, rental, check writing, and
medical records history, as a minimum, to establish a toll
free telephone number for ordering free file disclosures.
Specialty reporting companies may also
provide information on a web site.
Not everyone has a need to obtain every free specialty
report. Consumers should order a "specialty" report before
shopping for new homeowners or automobile insurance,
opening a new checking account, applying for private
health or life insurance, or renting a home or apartment.
Job applicants who have consistently been turned down for
a job can also benefit from this new FACTA right.
Employers, landlords, insurance companies and banks that
use specialty consumer reports are obligated to give
consumers a free report if services are denied. However,
the new FACTA provision gives consumers the chance to get
their file free directly from the companies that prepare
these specialty reports.
Consumers who find errors in a "specialty" report have the
same rights to dispute as with errors found in a credit
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a nonprofit consumer
information and advocacy organization based in San Diego,
Free credit reports web site and phone number, shared by
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion:
http://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228
Federal Trade Commission information on free credit
PRC information on specialty consumer reports:
Employment background checks:
For more information on FACTA,
Beth Givens (619) 298-3396
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.