Your credit report contains private personal and financial information. You have the right to monitor the companies and individuals who pull your report and prevent your credit information from being viewed without your permission.
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Section 604 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act states that any creditor that pulls your report must have a permissible purpose for doing so. In most cases, your permission will be required.
A hard credit check will leave an inquiry on your report that is visible by future lenders and will impact your score. A soft credit check can only be viewed by you and has no effect on your credit score. Previous authorisation is not required for a creditor to conduct a soft credit check.
If you are being investigated by the FBI, your credit report may be pulled without either your knowledge or permission.
Soft credit checks are conducted by companies that wish to view your score in order to send you offers of credit via mail. Because your score is not affected by a soft credit check, this is considered to be a permissible purpose pull.
You can visit optoutprescreen.com to opt out of preapproved credit offers and prevent soft credit checks for marketing purposes. You may also opt to file a lawsuit against any entity that conducts a hard credit check without a permissible purpose for doing so.
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