Q. I know that the big credit bureaus have files on me that I can get for free at annualcreditreport.com. But I've heard there are lots of specialty databases that also collect personal information. Can I see what's in them?
A. Generally, you can. It's a good idea to have a look at these little-known databases once a year. Most will provide you with one free report annually, as required by federal law.
You'll be able to spot signs of identity theft, but also to satisfy your curiosity about what's on file about you — and correct it if it's wrong.
- Full File Disclosure details public-record data about you, such as property ownership, criminal history, liens and bankruptcies. Also available are reports on your employment and renting histories.
- CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) lists home and auto insurance claims filed under your name over the past seven years. Insurers use these reports to decide whether to issue you a policy and to set your rate. It's smart to look at yours if you're shopping for a new policy — or wondering why you were denied one.
- MIB (Medical Information Bureau) gives coded listings of your reported medical conditions and tests, as well as hazardous hobbies. The reports figure in insurers' decisions on whether to issue medical, long-term care and other health-related policies. Get your report by calling 1-866-692-6901 toll-free. Also contact your health insurer for an annual statement of your claims and treatments. Protect yourself from medical identity theft by taking measures such as guarding your insurance card.
- Chex Systems and TeleCheck collect information on overdrawn or otherwise mismanaged checking accounts. Their reports are especially useful if you've been denied a bank account.
- Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles can give you a copy of your driving record (you'll need to pay a fee). It typically lays out violations, your address and physical description — and any applications for a license that have been made in your name, a potential clue to identity theft.
- For prescription records for the past five years, including dosages, refills and names of prescribers, you can call Intelliscript (1-877-211-4816) and Medpoint (1-888-206-0335) toll-free.
When requesting records from each of these services, be prepared to provide proof of identity, perhaps including a photocopy of your driver's license, canceled checks and other requested information.
Not every source will have complete information on you — or even any. But if you find something fishy, immediately contact the report provider to resolve it.
Also of interest: What happens to personal stolen data? >>
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.