The three-year anniversary of the most sweeping changes to credit reports in decades just occurred (July 1, 2017 – 2020). Yet, I continue to be amazed at the myriad of people who are in industries that use credit reports but are still unaware of the critical data that has been omitted from credit reports for now over three years.

The modifications to credit reports in July of 2017 were a direct result of a lawsuit settlement against the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This settlement resulted in the creation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP).

NCAP mandated that the three credit bureaus could only report public records, i.e., bankruptcies, civil judgments and tax liens, if sufficient PII (personally identifiable information) existed on the record, and if the records were updated at least every 90 days. PII includes name, date of birth, social security number, and address.

Civil judgments and tax liens are public records that typically have only two of the four PII. That is why they disappeared from credit reports in July of 2017. However, civil judgments and tax liens comprise crucial data for numerous industries. As a nationwide consumer reporting agency, we receive daily inquiries from prospective clients wanting information, but who ask only about credit and criminal research services. Based upon these and other inquiries, there is a significant percentage of the business world that remains clueless about the loss of this vital information from credit reports.

For more information, I first wrote about this in May 2017, Big Changes Coming to Credit Reports, and also in June 2017, Act Before Eviction Judgments Disappear From Credit Reports. I last wrote about this in July 2019, Credit Reports Changed Two Years Ago – Do You Know How.

The bottom line – civil judgments (including eviction judgments) and tax liens cannot be found on credit reports anymore. Fortunately, the NCAP settlement only affected the three credit bureaus, not consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) such as Reliable Background Screening. The good news is there are alternative solutions for obtaining tax liens, evictions and civil judgments, from some reliable background screening companies.

Regardless if your need is resident screening, tenant screening, franchisee screening, membership screening, volunteer screening, or employee screening ensure that you seek out more than “just a credit report,” if you require eviction judgments, civil judgments and/or tax liens.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening
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