Good morning friends,
I am in the process of interviewing different security monitoring services for the home I just closed on last week. So I called ADT first since the system the precious home owners had was ADT, I made the appointment and then I was asked for my SSN and DOB. I asked the agent if this was going to be a hard or soft pull and he said he had no idea.... Anyway, I declined to give him the information since I don't know if I am going to go with them. I did keep the appointment, but I am wondering if all secuity monitoring services do a hard or soft pull. I don't mind them checking, I just dont want 5 hard pulls from all the companies I am considering.
Any insights would be helpful.
It is possible for a potential creditor (PC) to do a hard pull without your SSN and birthdate, but it is very rare. And if the PC specifically asks for the SSN and birthdate and you don't give it to them, then the chance of a hard pull drops to almost zero. (It means that their internal procedure is to use SSN and DOB to run the credit report.)
I think that shopping around for services (cell phone providers, security services, cable TV, auto dealers, whatever) is a great idea. Just be diligent in refusing to give them you SSN and DOB. And if possible avoid giving them your true name and address (correct name, street address, and zip are enough for a credit pull). Finally tell each agent that you do not want any kind of credit pull done at this point (hard or soft).
Do assume that the rep will be mistaken if he assures you that a credit pull will be soft. Not because he will be mistaken, but because such a mistake is common and it will be hard to fix later.
I also encourage you to subscribe to some free tools so that you can check your credit reports at least monthly. (That's reports as opposed to scores.)
While directed at shopping for an auto purchase rather than some other type of business purchase or service, the issue of what is required for a business to obtain permissible purpose to pull your credit report was addressed in detail by the FTC in a February 11, 1998 advisory opinion as follows:
"1. Section 604(a)(3)(F) permits CRAs to provide consumer reports to any party who has a "legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer." You ask whether this provision allows a dealer to obtain a consumer report on a person who "comes to an automobile dealership and requests information" from a salesman about one or more automobiles. In our view it does not, because a request for general information about products and prices offered does not involve a business transaction initiated by the consumer.
"More generally, you ask "when is the beginning of a business transaction" initiated by the consumer? In responding to this question, it is important to note that Section 604(a)(3)(F) limits this "business need" permissible purpose to transactions (i) that are "initiated" by the consumer and (ii) where the seller has a "legitimate business need" for the information. The staff's view is that an automobile dealer may obtain a report only in those circumstances in which the consumer clearly understands that he or she is initiating the purchase or lease of a vehicle and the seller has a legitimate business need for the consumer report information in order to complete the transaction.
"For example, a consumer who asks a dealer questions about prices and financing is not necessarily indicating an intent to purchase or lease a vehicle from that particular dealer. Nor does the dealer have a "legitimate" business need for a consumer report in this situation. The consumer may simply be comparison shopping. In such a situation, the dealer must obtain written permission from the consumer before obtaining a consumer report. If the dealer would like to see a consumer's credit report before answering general questions about the availability of financing, this must be explained to the consumer and written permission must be obtained. In the same way, a request to "test drive" a vehicle does not indicate an intent to initiate the purchase or lease of the vehicle. Accordingly, if a consumer asks to test drive a vehicle, the dealer must obtain written permission from the consumer before obtaining a report.
"Only in those circumstances where it is clear both to the consumer and to the dealer that the consumer is actually initiating the purchase or lease of a specific vehicle and, in addition, the dealer has a legitimate business need for consumer report information may the dealer obtain a report without written permission. In this regard, we note that obtaining information for negotiation purposes does not constitute a "legitimate" business need. The dealer must have a specific need for the information directly related to the completion of the transaction. For example, a dealer may obtain a report, if one is necessary, in order to arrange financing requested by the consumer.(1) The dealer may also obtain a report to check a consumer's creditworthiness when the consumer presents a personal check to pay for the vehicle. By contrast, a permissible purpose would not arise if a consumer intends to pay by cash.
FCRA 819 specifies that a party who knowingly and willfully obtains information from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined under Title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both."