CRAs Illegal Actions when Dealing with Full File Disclosure Requests
One of the biggest challenges in getting a full file disclosure from a CRA (background screener) is providing enough personally identifiable information to satisfy the desires of the CRA. CRAs hate dealing with proactive consumers and will often ask for more identification than is legally necessary.
For example, I sent a full file disclosure request to over 300 CRAs–
In each full file disclosure request, I included an identification sheet that included:
My full legal name
Date of birth
Full street address
Copy of drivers license (front and back)
Social security number (last four digits)
TWO bank statements….
According to both the FTC and CFPB, I had included sufficient information required for preparation of a full file disclosure as required under Section 610(a)(1) of the FCRA (15 U.S.C. § 1681h(a)(1)).
Per the FRCA, a CRA can only ask for the minimum of personal information necessary to be able to properly identify the consumer.
Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
In my full file disclosure requests, I included the last four digits of my social (for security reasons). Sending out a full social security number seemed like a great way to increase the odds of identity theft…
I was dismayed to find a number of CRAs wanted the identifier in its entirety.
While courts have held it reasonable to request a SSN, the reasonableness of such a requirement depends on whether such information is necessary for the CRA to match consumers with their files. But the truth is a SSN is not required.
CRAs don’t need a Social Security Number- court records don’t include an SSN– For discussion sake, even if records did contain SSNs, the last four digits, along with the other unique identifiers, would have been plenty sufficient to match me, a consumer, with my file.
Form of the Request
Also, per Regulation V, CRAs cannot force a consumer to use a form provided by the CRA.
All that is required by the FCRA is a statement of request.
I received a number of responses stating I must fill out their proprietary request form.
The FCRA blatantly states that is NOT required and that I simply just make the request for a full file disclosure– I could even do it by toll-free number or in person if I wished.
I was surprised that it was the big CRAs (NCRAs) that gave me the hardest time.
For example: (see scanned photos at bottom)
LexisNexis: “…because we have not received enough information to authenticate your identity, we are unable to fulfill your request…..please complete the attached form and provide the identification documents detailed in the form instructions”
TransUnion: TransUnion sent me back a list of things they needed- I had already sent them everything they asked for (including more than they needed)!!! The only disparately is they asked for my SSN– I only sent them my last four digits.
Intellicorp: “Intellicorp is not able to process a Free Annual Disclosure for you at this time as the documentation provided to us does not include your full SSN, which is necessary in order to run a search.”
Ironically, one of the big CRAs published an advertisement stating the lack of necessity for either a drivers license or social security number…
These guys are simply trying to make it hard for consumers to receive the data they are entitled to…