By the AllClear ID team
Vanessa here with AllClear ID. You may know by now that you can get your credit reports for free each year from each of the three major credit bureaus. We can thank the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for that. Â However, you may not knowÂ that the FCRA also gives you the same free access to other â€œspecialtyâ€ reports as well. There are several â€œconsumer-reporting agenciesâ€ that donâ€™t create credit reports but do collect your data into what are commonly referred to as â€œspecial reportsâ€
These agencies collect information about you from a variety of sources, including:
- Public records of criminal or civil cases
- Your credit history
- Bankruptcy filings
- Companies with which you have an existing or prior business relationship, such as insurance companies or banks
- Your medical information
- Driving records
From this information, the agencies compile reports based on the requirements of targeted users — insurance companies, employers, and landlords â€“ who want to know about you before they do business with you.
Unfortunately, most consumers are in the dark about the very existence of specialty consumer reports. Usually they learn about specialty reports only after having been denied a job, an insurance policy, or an apartment rental.
But there a few ways you can see the same information theyâ€™re seeing about you:
The most detailed of reports comes from LexisNexisâ€™s ChoicePoint system, where you can get a Full File disclosure , which contains insurance information, employment background checks, criminal records information, and rental history reports.
LexisNexis Risk Solutions also offers Person Reports, which contain a wealth of information about your daily life, including voter registration, possible associates, and property you own. Hereâ€™s a sample report.
Chex Systems collects information forÂ Consumer Reports that includes check cashing information, such as any records of non-sufficient funds fees and returned checks. Financial institutions use these reports to determine whether to let you open money accounts with them. See a sample report.
ISO offers A-PLUS loss-history reports, which contains information about your loss history Â – essentially your insurance claims â€“ that property and casualty insurance companies use to evaluate how risky you are to cover.
The Medical Information Bureau collects your medical and prescription drug history for their reports, typically used by medical insurance companies to evaluate your risk.
You can get more information about specialty reports from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. As in the case with your credit reports, itâ€™s a good idea to order these specialty reports to make sure the information they have on file for you is accurate and correct. Any inaccurate information could be the result of a clerical error, or worse, identity theft. Regardless, it is important to ensure that you find and rectify any mistakes, as these reports can have a big effect on your life.
For information about more free protections read our â€œDid You Know?â€ series.