I Want to Know What My Credit Companies Know About Me
When it comes to protecting yourself from credit collection agencies and financial institutions that want your finances, as it has been famously said before, knowledge is half the battle. If you don’t know what creditors know about you, then how can you be expected to react correctly to their demands and inquiries? Realistically, you can’t.
Thankfully, you are not simply stuck without a knowledge base to decide your responses and shield your assets. Consumers actually have quite a lot of power in the United States due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Back in 1970, the FCRA was enacted – with later revisions in 2003 – to ensure that the average consumer has some ground to stand on when a powerful creditor comes knocking. Part of the Act bestows to you the power to demand information from creditors that they claim to know about you.
Information you can demand from a creditor includes but is not limited to:
- Your name
- Your address
- Amount of alleged debt
- Owner of the debt
- Original owner of the debt, too
- Record of debt payments or lack thereof
Basically, you can demand to see all of their supposed records on you to verify they are accurate and legitimate. This is part of the overall debt validation process. Creditors need to be spot-on when seeking a debt, or else their entire efforts are compromised. If you can uncover a missing or inaccurate piece of information in their records, then it will serve as a good starting point to counter their offensive.
Keep in mind that your request for information or validation needs to be in writing. Otherwise, the demand is not significant enough to meet FCRA regulations, and the creditor will be able to keep harassing you for a debt that might not even exist as your responsibility. You should work with a consumer protection attorney to draft an official letter of demand and mail it using certified U.S. mail with a return receipt request. Once it is sent, you and your lawyer can await the response and take appropriate action from there.
Need a consumer protection lawyer for your own case? Atlas Consumer Law in Chicago is focused on taking on credit collection agencies and challenging unjust debts. Call (312) 313-1613 for more information.