BOSTON (CBS) — Lauren Kantor of Swampscott knows exactly what she’ll find on her credit report.
“I often check the credit to see where the score is at and if there’s anything new on the report that I should know about,” she said.
But she didn’t know there are also companies tracking her consumer report. “I find that absolutely crazy. I had no idea.”
There are hundreds of consumer reporting agencies collecting information on potentially millions of consumers. The information can be collected from court files or companies you do business with.
Information like if you pay the electric bill on time, if you’ve ever had a problem with a landlord, even what kind of prescription drugs you buy.
And it’s all legal.
Kim Gough of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says, “I don’t think most people realize there are so many different agencies and data collection services out there right now. And most of the time they don’t actually find out about it until something negative happens.”
Something negative like being turned down for a bank account, insurance, a job, an apartment, or even cable TV.
“Run a report on yourself. Make sure that it’s accurate and if it’s not accurate then take the steps necessary to correct the information that’s not accurate,” says Gough
The hard part is guessing which agency to contact. There’s no way to know which ones, if any, have a report on you until you request it.
“I should really know what kind of information is out there about me and if there are mistakes I really need to get them corrected,” says Kantor.
Companies must give you a copy of your consumer report if the information has been used to deny your application. If you request one on your own the annual report is free just like a credit report.
Here’s a list of Consumer Reporting Agencies.
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