This is one of the most frequent questions concerns we hear from consumers who are diligent about protecting their personal information and credit history.
All personal credit reports are consumer reports as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), however not all consumer reports contain personal credit information. This is especially confusing since the federal law protecting consumers and regulating consumer reporting, the FCRA, contains the word “Credit” in the title and many of the consumer disclosures and notifications required under the law are very credit oriented.
Here are a few examples to illustrate the issue (in each case the information is being gathered and prepared by a consumer reporting agency):
- When you apply for an auto loan and your financial institution reviews your credit history that is a Credit Report and a Consumer Report.
- When you apply to rent an apartment and your property manager reviews your credit and criminal history that is a Credit Report and a Consumer Report.
- When you apply for a job and your employer reviews your criminal history and driving record that is a Consumer Report.
- When you apply for a job and your employer reviews your previous job performance obtained by interviewing your professional references that is an Investigative Consumer Report.
Each of the cases above is regulated by the FCRA and other applicable state and local consumer reporting laws.