SearchAmerica Announces New Permissible Purpose Searches
MAPLE GROVE, MN -- August 27, 2001 -- SearchAmerica, a proven online service that helps organizations quickly, easily, and inexpensively find people, today announced the release of two new searches. Both searches, Permissible Address to Social Security Number (SSN) and Permissible SSN to Address, access the credit header (or demographic portion) of credit reports. To take advantage of these "permissible purpose" searches, organizations must show a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction initiated by the consumer.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which went into effect July 1, 2001, mandates that access to credit header information will require permissible purpose as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In accordance with the act, organizations that need access to consumer credit information, for any reason, must have permissible purpose to access the information and must qualify to access consumer credit-related searches.
In governing the distribution of data from credit reports prior to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) did not place permissible purpose restrictions on those who accessed only "credit header" information (defined as basic identity, but not financial, information). With the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the FTC expanded the restrictions of data from credit reports to include credit header information (now governed by the FCRA); its distribution is now limited to those with a permissible purpose for accessing the information.
The Permissible SSN to Address search uses the SSN and returns the current address and up to seven years of previous addresses. The Permissible Address to SSN search uses the name and address and returns the SSN and current address. Businesses who qualify for permissible purpose searches will benefit from having access to the credit header information from consumer credit data, as this proves to be the most accurate data available for updating addresses, preventing fraud and making business decisions.
SearchAmerica will continue to offer non-permissible versions of these searches that will access other data sources, including publishing, marketing and retail sources. In addition, SearchAmerica will continue to offer other non-permissible searches, including Name, Neighbor, Fraud, Address and Phone.
For more information about permissible purpose searches and how to qualify for permissible purpose, contact SearchAmerica at (763) 416-1050.
SearchAmerica, an innovative leader in online search technology, helps healthcare organizations, collection agencies and repossessors find people quickly and easily at the lowest possible cost. Making sure that public information is used properly; SearchAmerica is IRSG-compliant and fully supports its goals and initiatives. For more information, contact SearchAmerica at (763) 416-1050 or visit www.searchamerica.com.
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What is permissible purpose?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), enacted in October 1970 and most recently amended in November 1999, was established to restrict the disclosure of nonpublic personal information (including consumer credit rating and other sensitive information). The FCRA restricts the distribution of data from consumer credit reports to persons who have permissible purpose. Permissible purpose includes a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer.
In governing the distribution of data from credit reports prior to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) did not place permissible purpose restrictions on those who accessed only "credit header" information (basic identity, but not financial, information). With GLB, the FTC expanded the restrictions of data from credit reports to include credit header information (which is now also governed by the FCRA) and its distribution is limited to those with a "permissible purpose" for accessing the information.
What is the difference between permissible and non-permissible searches?
The non-permissible purpose searches access a "snapshot" of data that was available prior to GLB becoming effective and is updated on a regular basis only from alternate sources of non-permissible data. The permissible purpose searches access credit header data from credit sources that require customers to register for and be verified to have access to this data. In addition, the permissible searches will leave a soft-hit on a consumer's credit file, but the non-permissible searches will not.
What is the difference between credit report information and credit header information?
The credit header information is the demographic information at the top of a credit report. It contains demographic data such as name, address, previous addresses, and Social Security number. In addition to the demographic data, the full credit report contains a log of all activity on a consumer's credit file including public record credit data, account details, accounts in collections, information on inquiries, and a consumer statement regarding the facts or conditions affecting his/her credit file.
What is a hit on the consumer's credit report?
When a business inquires into a consumer's credit file, a record will be kept of the inquiry; this is commonly known as a hit. When a consumer's credit report is accessed, it leaves a hard-hit. A hard-hit is a notation in the credit file that the inquiry was made and who it was made by. These inquiries can be viewed by other businesses that do a credit report on the consumer in the future. In addition, a hard-hit may or may not have an impact on the consumer's credit score, which is a number potential lenders use. When the credit header data is inquired, a soft-hit is left in the consumer's credit file. A soft-hit is a notation that the inquiry was made and who it was made by. Soft-hits are only viewable by the consumer themselves and not by other businesses that do credit inquiries on the consumer.
Is permissible purpose data more accurate?
Having permissible purpose gives access into a consumer's credit file, which is typically the most accurate source of demographic data.
Amanda McGowan, LaBreche Murray Public Relations, (612) 392-7601, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Rafferty, SearchAmerica, (763) 416-1040, email@example.com
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Credit & Collection Manager's Letter.