If you live in Pennsylvania, you’re in the Third Circuit. And because of a landmark decision in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a data breach case involving Horizon Healthcare Services, you have extra protection under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that residents in other areas don’t have.
The Court’s opinion stated:
“With the passage of the FCRA, Congress established that the unauthorized dissemination of a Consumer’s private information by a credit reporting agency causes an injury in and of itself—whether or not the disclosure of that information increased the risk of identity theft or some future harm.”
The FCRA prohibits anyone from accessing your credit report without your explicit consent. You may look at your credit report and see “soft pulls” from credit card or lending entities that you have not authorized, and you may have been told they don’t affect your credit score, so it’s OK.
There’s more at stake here than a few points on your credit score, however. Your credit report contains your entire financial history, along with your current and past addresses, employment history, social security number, and other highly personal information. That’s not the type of data you want falling into the wrong hands.
This is especially true after your bankruptcy discharge.
If you have filed bankruptcy and received your discharge, your former creditors have absolutely no excuse to access your credit report. Your relationship with them, and therefore the permission you originally gave them to view your credit information, has been terminated. They aren’t allowed to “eavesdrop” on your financial recovery, and are subject to legal penalties if they do.
I see soft pulls on my credit report after bankruptcy. What should I do?
If you didn’t authorize even one of the entities you see on your soft pull list, your privacy has been violated. You could be entitled to up to $1,000 in damages, as well as your court costs, under the FCRA.
It’s free to chat with me about making creditors pay for violating your privacy. You can call or text me at 215.551.7109, or drop me a line.