Specialty Reports: What Have They Got on Me?

 Will you be a good employee?
Are you likely to wreck your car?
Is your checking account frequently overdrawn?
What prescription drugs do you take?
Are you in poor health?
Will you default on your mortgage?
Does your home have water damage?
Will you trash the apartment or vacate with rent unpaid?


Most consumers know of their right to free annual credit reports from the three national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). But did you know that the same federal law that lets you see your credit reports entitles you to much more?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to free copies of numerous so-called specialty consumer reports. These specialty reports are designed to help businesses predict the answers to the questions posed above. They report on such matters as your medical conditions, insurance claims, check writing history, rental history, and employment history.

The companies that compile these reports are consumer reporting agencies, just like the three credit bureaus. In fact, these specialty consumer reporting agencies operate much like the credit bureaus. They collect information about you from a variety of sources and sell them to businesses. However, their focus may not be on your credit worthiness, but on other kinds of information about you that may be useful to business.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s newly revised publication "The Other Consumer Reports: What You Should Know About ‘Specialty’ Reports" helps you navigate the maze of these lesser-known consumer reporting agencies. We explain the kinds of information that these companies collect about you and your rights to obtain that information. "What have they got on me?"