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Protect Your Information & Avoid Identity Theft
Specific laws safeguard your personal financial information. If you think someone has accessed or used your information illegally, LHA can help.
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What Does Impermissible Use Mean?
Much of the information in a consumer’s credit report is sensitive. It should be protected to avoid identity theft and potential embarrassment if the consumer is delinquent on payments or has other debt issues.
There are limited purposes for companies and/or individuals to access your credit report. If you do not specifically give a company written permission, they may not access your credit information. If they do without valid purpose or permission, it is impermissible use. And it is illegal.
Valid Reasons to Access Credit Reports
There are certain situations in which a company or individual may pull your credit without your consent, but only if they have a permissible purpose. These permissible purposes are limited and expressed explicitly in the FCRA:
- When you apply for credit
- When a creditor is reviewing or taking collection action on your existing account
- When you apply for insurance
- When a potential creditor or insurer intends to extend you an offer of credit or insurance (with limited use)
- When a court or federal grand jury orders it
- When you apply for certain government benefits
- When you apply for licenses that require a review of your financial background
- When you initiate a business transaction, and there is a “legitimate business need” for your credit report that relates to that deal
Often a business will request credit reporting information to engage in targeted marketing. As stated above, the only permissible purpose for marketing is if a company offers you a firm offer of credit or an offer for insurance under limited circumstances.
Examples of Impermissible Use
Debt settlement companies often use targeted marketing campaigns to cover their illegal access to your credit report. Such campaigns carried out by debt collection agencies violate the FCRA.
Employers, landlords, car dealerships, and other entities may access your credit history without permission. If you have given someone your social security number and additional personal information, there is a chance they may illegally access your credit report.
If you notice that a company or another entity has impermissibly accessed your credit, you should consult an attorney immediately.
Not Just Any Debt Attorney
Jeremiah E. Heck is a founding partner of Luftman, Heck & Associates. He understands the state and federal laws that protect you and how to make large debt companies pay.
How Do I Know If My Data Was Accessed Illegally?
You could be notified that your credit data has been impermissibly accessed in various ways.
You may get a notification from a credit reporting agency, such as Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion, that your credit report was accessed. When someone accesses your report, you may get a “hard inquiry” or a “soft inquiry” on your account. Hard inquiries can impact your credit score.
You may also become aware of impermissible use if a company contacts you and has detailed information about your credit history or personal data. If a company seems to have more information about you than they should, they likely impermissibly accessed your credit reports.
What Can I Do About Impermissible Use?
You can and typically should pursue legal action against companies that illegally access your credit. These cases can be complicated, but you are entitled to actual damages, statutory damages, and attorney fees and costs if you prevail.
The law does not limit your actual damages. You can recover 100% of any money you lose out on due to a violation of debt collection laws or impermissible use laws. Actual damages may be things like lost wages if you don’t get a job due to information on your credit report.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) allows consumers to recover up to $1,000 for violations. This amount is available per lawsuit, not per violation.
Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
If you can prove that someone violates a federal debt law, you can request compensation for your attorney fees and any other legal costs you have incurred. This would include the filing fee you had to spend to initiate the lawsuit with the Complaint and reimbursement of mailing costs, copying charges, and more.
Why Use a Lawyer If You Suspect Impermissible Use?
Impermissible use of your personal information can seriously impact your life. It can affect your job opportunities, financial experiences, and more. You deserve to control who has this type of personal information about you.
Ensure Your Rights Were Respected
You have rights as a consumer. That includes who has access to your credit history and other personal data. If someone has impermissibly accessed your credit report, an attorney can review your situation and help you file a claim against the offending party.
Control Your Financial Situation
If you need help deciding what to do about your specific financial situation, a debt relief lawyer can evaluate your particular situation and give you options. You don’t have to go with the debt collection company that steals your information. Instead, work with an attorney who will respect your private data.
Aggressive & Effective Representation
LHA attorneys are licensed to practice law in Ohio. This is not something other debt relief companies can claim, and certainly not ones offering assistance after illegally accessing your data. We will assess your situation, explain your options, and hold the right parties accountable if a violation of your consumer rights harms you.