Aug
20
2013

Social Security number, birth date not enough to access your credit report

Dear Experian,

If someone has your Social Security number and your date of birth, can they access your credit report online? How can you tell when your credit report was last checked, and by whom? I think that someone checked my credit report, and it was not me.

- ARR

 

Dear ARR,

A person with only your Social Security number and date of birth will not be able to access your credit report online. At a minimum, a person would also have to have your name and address just to get the request process started.

Experian does not match your identity based on just one or two identifying elements. Even matching multiple identifiers will only get you past the first step. It still wouldn’t be enough to get your credit report.

The second step is passing a quiz based on your credit report and other “out-of-wallet” information, or information a thief couldn’t get simply by stealing your wallet or purse. Unless the person has intimate details about your credit history and debts, they should be unable to pass the test, and so could not get your credit report.

By matching multiple pieces of identifying information and requiring you to pass an identity authentication test, Experian makes if very difficult for anyone but you to get your credit report online.

Once you have your report, you will see a list of inquiries, which are a record of who has requested a copy of your credit report. If someone posed as you to get your report, you would see an inquiry showing that you requested your own report.

If you haven’t ordered your own report, the inquiry would tip you off that someone else has used your identifying information to get the report. To do so, the person will have to know much more than just your Social Security number and birth date.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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