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Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

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Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

I pulled my annual TransUnion credit report today to check my regular, promotional and account review inquiries. I wanted to see who has access to my credit information.

 

Then I noticed this note under "Account Review Inquiries" that I had not read before. These are supposed to be 'harmless' inquiries for regular upkeep, credit line increases, background checks for new employers etc.

 

The listing of a company's inquiry in this section means that they obtained information from your credit file in connection with an account review or other business transaction with you. These inquiries are not seen by anyone but you and will not be used in scoring your credit file (except insurance companies may have access to other insurance company inquiries, certain collection companies may have access to other collection company inquiries, and users of a report for employment purposes may have access to other employment inquiries, where permitted by law).

 

What I took notice of are the exceptions. Apparently, insurance companies get to see who else I have asked for a premium quote, debt collectors get to see who else is going after me, and employers can see who else has run background checks on me. I find this unacceptably creepy, since an insurer or employer could potentially use this information against me in underwriting or making an offer or performance reviews.

 

Am I missing something? If not, is there a way to limit this sharing?

5 REPLIES 5
Legendary Contributor

Re: Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

A soft inquiry, by definition, is an inquiry for your credit report that cannot be disclosed by the CRA to any party other than the named consumer.

That is not an explict bar under the FCRA except for so-called promotional inquiries made by a creditor or insuror in order to make you an unsolicited offer for credit or insurance.  FCRA 604(c)(3) expressly bars the CRAs from including any such promotional inquiry from appearing in any credit report issued to anyone other than the named consumer, but other types of so-called soft inquiries are not mentioned in the FCRA.

 

A creditor or insuror with whom you have no account and have not initiated your own request for credit or insurance has NO ability to obtain your credit report other than under the so-called promotional inquiry provisions of FCRA 604(c).  Section 604(c) limits such promotional inquiries only to obtaining your name and address, 

Yes, creditors or insurors with whom you have an existing account or have initiated a request for credit or insurance can obtain your credit report under specific provisions of FCRA 604, but a creditor or insuror with whom you have no existing relatinahip cannot obtain any credit report that provides any account specific information or record of your inquiries.

Message 2 of 6
New Visitor

Re: Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

Thanks for that explanation. I looked again and it's actually listed under "Account Review Inquiries." My company's name is listed under it who ran a background check before I started my job.

 

My question is, if a new company runs a new check after I give permission, would they be able to see my company's name (and all the other previous companies who may have run a similar check in the past)? Because from the description, it looks like they may be able to.

Message 3 of 6
Legendary Contributor

Re: Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

If you are referring to employment inquiries, they are coded by the CRAs as such, and are considered as soft inquiries that are not included in any credit report that is provided to anyone other than you.

 

Make sure that any employment related inquiry is properly coded as such, and it will not be viewable by others.

Message 4 of 6
Established Contributor

Re: Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

@RobertEG

Do employment related INQs provide the same information to the requester as a financial related INQ?

 

 

050719:     
110419:     

Message 5 of 6
Legendary Contributor

Re: Can soft inquiries by potential employers and insurers be available to other inquirers?

Yes, employment inquiries receive the same information as credit or insurance based inquires.

The essential difference with employment inquiries is that they cannot be made simply based on establishng a permissbile purpose established by a consumer, such as applying for credit.  Employment based inquiries require the specific, prior written consent of the consumer.

 

The only type of inquiry that does not provide a full, normal credit report is a so-called promotional inquiry provided for under FCRA 604(c), which by statute cannot include any account specific information.  It includes the name and address of the consumers whose credit files have been found by the CRA to meet the criteria provided by the inquiree.

Message 6 of 6
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