When you examine your credit report, it will list the names of all credit pulls: the parties who have obtained a copy of your credit report information. As these credit reports contain valuable private information, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that parties can only use, obtain, or examine your credit report for a permissible purpose. You would be shocked at the amount of information someone can learn about you and your family by accessing your credit report. It is just like digging through your garbage. This is why there are laws in place to allow you to protect yourself if someone pulls your credit without permission. Our firm recently resolved a matter for $125,000.00 on behalf of a couple who had their credit pulled for an impermissible purpose by a large auto company.
The most common permissible purpose, of course, is that the business intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction. A party seeking to collect debt on an account can pull a copy of your credit report (as long as your debt hasn’t been paid in full or discharged by bankruptcy).
However, businesses will occasionally do a “soft pull” or a “hard pull” of your credit information without such a permissible purpose. For example, it is common for spouses in divorce cases to attempt to use credit pulls to obtain consumer information about their ex. Private investigators utilize their contacts at businesses who have the ability to obtain credit information where the company lacks the requisite controls to ensure that the consumer report being generated is for a real customer. This is NOT a permissible purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Other than in connection with the collection of an account, you cannot pull a credit report in connection with civil litigation, including family court cases. Similarly, insurance companies can pull your records when deciding if you are eligible for their product. What they cannot do is pull your consumer report when evaluating a claim for benefits.
We may be able to help you if can identify companies who engaged in credit pulls without a business justification to do so. Keep a copy of the credit report which identifies the wrongful pull of your information. Businesses and people should not be allowed to access your personal, private information without a legal reason to do so. Contact the firm if you believe you have such a situation. You can reach us at 919.526.0450 or submit a new case inquiry through our contact page. Consultations on Fair Credit Reporting Act claims are free and, if we can take the case, we are always to take the case on a contingency basis, meaning that no fees are owed unless you are allowed to recover funds from the party who invaded your privacy.