How to Get a Credit Report on Someone Else

By Amanda Morin

  • Overview

    Though getting a credit report on someone else without their permission is in most cases illegal, there are some exceptions. There are also times when it's appropriate to request someone else's credit report with their express written permission. Deciding which route is best for you depends on your purpose for obtaining the credit report.
    • Step 1

      Get a copy of your child's credit history if you suspect his Social Security number may have been stolen. All three of the major credit reporting bureaus--Equifax, Experian and TransUnion--have policies in place that allow you to inquire about and get your child's credit report. You will need to have a copy of his Social Security card, his birth certificate and proof of your relation to him in order to obtain that report.
    • Step 2

      Get a copy of a business' credit report before a big deal or any other momentous move. Since in this case the "someone else" you are investigating is a corporation or entity, it's acceptable to check them out. Going to Experian's site is among the easiest ways to do this. Simply input the company name and location on Experian's Web form and you can then choose which type of report you would like to receive (see Resources below).

    • Step 3

      Obtain written, signed permission from a prospective tenant or employee before requesting a copy of their credit report. It's perfectly legal to check someone out before you rent to them or employ them, you just need their okay to do it. Included in the permission should be a statement of why you intend to check the credit report and that this has been explained in full.
    • Step 4

      Consider signing up for an integrated background check service if you are a landlord and will be getting credit reports on a regular basis. The subscription fee may be worth it, saving you both time and money. Agencies like Tenant Verification and e-Renter can provide a copy of a credit report in conjunction with a criminal background check (see Resources below).
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides for consumers to get a copy of their own credit report for free, but doesn't include someone else's report. You will need to pay for a copy of a business or potential tenant/employee's credit history. You can also monitor your credit scores for free if you wish. Remember that your credit scores are not included with your report and that you need to order them separately.
    • Warning:
    • Obtaining a copy of someone else's credit report under false pretenses, with or without permission, is against the law.
    • If you have given an employer permission to get your credit report, he does not have to inform you if he chooses to pull it again after the initial check.

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