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Specialty Consumer Reports

Consumer Reporting Agencies Track More Than Your Credit

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Specialty Consumer Reports

It's no longer a conspiracy theory to believe there's someone out there watching you. In today's digital age it seems information is gathered by somebody every waking moment of our lives.

Getty/Pete Turner

Your Guide has talked at length about the information a consumer reporting agency (CRA) might have concerning you, but most of the focus has been on your free credit reports. But we also know that credit is only a very small area of our lives that can be impacted by identity theft. Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives us access to specialty consumer reports free of charge as well. So let's look at some of the other specialty reports that are frequently considered by credit lenders (and potential employers, and landlords, and target marketing campaigns….)

The Work Number is an employment verification database provided by Equifax. They maintain a database (over 192,000,000 entries) concerning your employment and income information. You can find information about getting your free annual report from their website.

The Acxiom Corporation also maintains an employment verification database, along with a vast array of other consumer information. Acxiom helps companies determine target markets through a variety of information reports – if you've ever wondered how a specific company got your address, or why they are sending you discount fliers for something you need but haven't really told anyone you needed it, chances are good that the information came from an Acxiom report, or one of a similar nature. In addition to giving you access to your personal information report, Acxiom provides a way for you to opt out of their marketing programs. In fact, this option is available for most of the CRAs, it's just a matter of finding out how to contact them. Acxiom provides information on how to get your annual report on their Privacy Policy page. (Acxiom also provides a free PDF document that discusses protecting your personal information, which your Guide highly recommends.)

LexisNexis is a similar company that collects rental history, employment history, and other information about consumers. Their products are similar to Acxiom's and are geared toward everything from pre-employment screenings to renter background checks. Their "Full-File Disclosure" report will be comprehensive, and will include public record search information. You can get full instructions for obtaining your Full-File Disclosure as well as print the required forms from their website.

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) provides information that may be relevant to insurance identity theft. Their Automobile-Property Loss Underwriting Service (called A-PLUS) is a database that tracks previous claims you have made. Nearly all insurance companies use this database to help determine what your rates will be, or if they will even give you insurance at all. You can find information on how to order your free annual report from them on their website.

The National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) may have information on you concerning telecommunications, pay TV, and utility accounts that may have been reported by service providers. If you are required to pay a deposit to get your electricity or water turned on, it may be a result of information in this report. Since utilities fraud is one of the most commonly reported problems associated with financial identity theft, it's a good idea to look at this report as well. Here's how.

It's also important to know that whenever you submit your request to any company, they will almost always verify your identity before providing your report. One of the benefits of going through the process of obtaining your report from these companies is that you can see firsthand what information they require – which will tell you what personal information you will want to protect. The other thing to keep in mind is that when you give them your information, they will update their database in almost every case.

These are just a few of the specialty consumer reports that you will want to look into – there are many others. In an effort to give you additional information, your Guide prefers to use the internet as a primary source of information, and this article is no exception. You can read the original Annual Medical Report article (the primary source of information for this article) on their website. That article covers the 25 most frequently requested consumer reports. What your Guide has presented here are merely the highlights.

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