Your Credit Report Isn't The Only Report You Should Monitor

When an insurer decides whether to offer you a new policy, or whether to raise rates on a current one, he most likely pulls a CLUE report that lists any homeowner or automobile insurance loss claims (or sometimes even just inquiries) that you’ve made over the past 3-7 years. Hopefully you monitor your consumer credit report for errors, but as you can see, that’s not the only one you should keep an eye on.

Consumer Reports has a detailed information page about companies that track and sell your personal information. The data comes in the form of consumer credit reports, insurance credit reports, your health history, your checking and banking account history, your criminal background, your history of retail returns, and your property rental history.

In most cases, you can pull free copies of these reports periodically, which is good because errors can pop up in these reports just like they can in a consumer credit history. But who has time to pull and monitor that many databases of personal information? The website PrivacyRights.org suggests you stick with yearly monitoring of your consumer credit report (the one you can get for free only at www.annualcreditreport.com), and pay attention to the other ones only under certain circumstances:

  • New homeowner’s or auto insurance: order your CLUE or A-PLUS reports
  • Victim of check fraud or general checking or savings account problems: order your ChexSystems report
  • Employer (current or potential) asks for permission to run background check: ask for name of the screening company and contact them as soon as they’ve issued the report
  • Applying for a new job: order Employment Data Report from Work Number if any past employers used that company; also consider ordering a ChoicePoint Full File Disclosure
  • Renting an apartment or home: ask the landlord for the name of the screening company, as there are several
  • Health, life, long-term care, or disability insurance: order your MIB report from Medical Information Bureau
  • General overall check-up on what you look like as data: order a ChoicePoint Full File Disclosure and a Lexus-Nexis Accurint Person Report

There is one time when you may want to go crazy and order everything, and that’s if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.

(Thanks to commenter mac-phisto, whose advice in an earlier post on auto insurance triggered this one.)

“Big Brother is watching” [Consumer Reports]
“What You Should Know about ‘Specialty’ Reports” [Privacy Rights Clearinghouse]
(Photo: Erik Pitti)