How Can I Find Out if Someone Has Done a Credit Check on Me?
Lenders generally check the credit of their potential customers to decide if they are worthy of lending credit. When lenders pull the credit of consumers, there is a notation placed on the credit report. This notation is known as an inquiry. Inquiries remain on credit reports for up to 2 years, and consumers can view the information of everyone who has pulled their credit in the past 2 years. Consumers should know how credit checks work.
Types of Credit Check Inquiries
The two types of credit check inquiries are hard and soft inquiries. Creditors who want to extend preapproved credit conduct soft inquiries. They pull consumers’ credit to determine if they meet the requirements for a line of credit with the company. These inquires do not show up on credit reports so consumers do not know that the lender has pulled their credit. The other type of inquiry is a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries are the ones that consumers authorize when they want to apply for a mortgage, credit card, or other forms of credit. The lender’s information is easy to find in the inquiry section of the credit report.
How to Find Out If a Credit Check Has Been Conducted
- Order a free credit report. Consumers have the right to receive a free credit report from each of the credit agencies once per year. Consumers can order the credit reports together or at different times. The Federal Trade Commission offers the service to every consumer at no charge. Consumers can get their credit report by submitting a request online, by telephone, or by mail. Requests are processed within 15 days so consumers can expect their credit report shortly thereafter.
- Verify that the information is accurate. Once consumers receive their credit report, they can see who has pulled their credit in the past 2 years. Look for the inquiry section of the credit report to find this information. This section contains the name and contact information of the companies that conducted the background checks on consumers. Consumers can also find the dates that the inquiries took place. Take some time to verify that all of the inquiries were authorized.
- Contact the company if the inquiries were not authorized. Unauthorized background checks should be taken care of immediately. Under the law, companies must get written permission to conduct a background check on consumers. Contacting the lender is the only way to verify the information. If the background check was unauthorized, consumers should request that the company remove the inquiry from the credit report. Check the credit report again in 30 days to see if the unauthorized inquiry has been removed. If it has not been removed, contact the company again and tell them that the background check was not authorized.
Unauthorized background checks should not be taken lightly. Consumers have certain rights in which they should not be denied. It is important to remember that existing lenders can do a background checks at any time that they want without the permission of the consumer.