You can check someone's credit before doing business with them and reduce your delinquent accounts. However, remember that the government considers a person's credit to be private; you cannot check the score without that person's permission.
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Ask for permission in writing to run a credit check from the subject of the check. Alternately, you can ask the person to obtain a copy of his credit report and share it with you.
Contact your local trade association if you are a business owner or landlord. Many trade associations work together to purchase credit information at reduced prices.
Purchase credit reports through any of the three main credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) if you will be doing many credit checks. Otherwise, you can obtain credit reports through private investigation firms or through online credit reporting sites.
Notify the person in question if you are making a decision against her on the basis of her credit report. You are legally obligated to do so. You also are required by law to not discriminate on the basis of credit crises, such as bankruptcies.
Tips and warnings
- If there are any obvious inconsistencies on the credit check, ask the subject of the credit check to verify its accuracy.
- Checking someone else's credit score without permission can be punishable with statutory damages.
- Credit reporting agencies have no obligation to provide a credit history to anyone but the person to whom that history belongs.