Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.
Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.
Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.
Topics addressed on July 23, 2008:
Social Security number, birth date not enough to access your credit report
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.
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