credit & debt

Find Out Who’s Tracking Your Credit and Finances

A host of smaller bureaus are collecting consumer data.

You may already visit AnnualCreditReport.com for free yearly reports from the major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. But many lesser-known agencies also gather consumer data -- such as insurance claims, residential history, and medical payments and records -- and sell the information to lenders, landlords, insurers and others.

These specialty agencies must also provide consumers with an easy way to get free annual copies of their reports. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has compiled a list of about 40 agencies, sorted by category and including contact information.

You probably don’t need to spend hours tracking down reports from each agency. But before signing up for homeowners insurance, you might want to get a LexisNexis Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) property report, which includes claims histories for individuals and properties. Many insurers use the information to determine premiums. Applying for a job? Look for employment-history reports, which employers can access with candidates’ permission. Renters can check tenant histories, which landlords may pull before approving a lease application.

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