How to Obtain a Credit Report on Someone Else

Many people want to know their credit score, so they check their credit report online for free. Checking another person's credit report can be tricky. In this day and age where identity theft is so prevalent, it's very difficult to obtain a credit report on another person, yet it is possible. Businesses and landlords sometimes check a person's credit report, for example. Be sure that no laws are violated when obtaining another person's credit report.

A woman is purchasing something on a computer. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Step 1

Your reason for obtaining a credit check on someone must be valid, reasonable and legal. According to the financial website AllBusiness.com, The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) specifies who may and may not obtain a credit report on another person. It explains that only a business or individual qualifying a person for a job, insurance, government benefits or tenancy can obtain another person's credit report. Obtaining power of attorney also makes it legal to check that person's credit report.

Step 2

Obtain written permission from the person whose credit report you are seeking along with the person's social security number. According to AllBusiness.com, while businesses can, individuals cannot get a credit report for another person without her written permission. In addition to written permission, the person must understand why you will obtain their credit information, as obtaining a credit score under false pretenses is against the law. You may want to have the person whose credit you want to obtain sign a statement stating that they understand your specific purpose for obtaining his credit information.

Step 3

Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies--Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. AllBusiness.com states that going through one of these three national credit reporting agencies is the only legitimate way to get another person's credit information. For example, at www.Experian.com, you can order a credit report for another person by clicking on "tenant screening." As of 2010, the cost for this service from Experian is $6.95 and it only requires inputting the person's name, address and social security number. The result is a full credit report which lists detailed information about employment, credit history, previous tenancies and current debts such as loans.

Things You'll Need

  • A signed authorization from the person to check his credit report

  • The person's social security number

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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