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 Your rights and information security

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Can anyone search my report?
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No, searches can only be made with your consent. This is usually given at the time you apply to a lender. 631


How does Experian ensure security?
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It is our priority to make sure the information we obtain is held securely. All the data we hold is processed in strict accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We screen our employees carefully and our premises are very secure. We constantly review how we can protect our information databases and our reputation for maintaining privacy. 786


Can anyone see my credit account information?
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No, credit information is private. Only companies who are members of our account sharing scheme can access credit account information. They can only look at your credit account details if you have given them permission. They usually get your permission when you complete their credit application form.

Our credit account sharing scheme is strictly regulated. Lenders can only see the same level of information that they provide and must abide by strict rules that clearly list how information can be used. 491


How do I know who has seen information about me?
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Whenever someone accesses or searches your information on the Experian database a search record, or 'footprint', is created. These records show which company has accessed/searched your personal information and when, and are kept on record for one year.

Search records are kept for your information and to assist lenders when processing credit applications. They also help prevent Fraud. Unrecorded Enquiries reflect that someone has looked at your report, but that fact will not be revealed to other lenders—the record is kept so you know who has accessed your credit report. 492


Can I prevent Experian from holding information about me?
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No. In fact, we have a legal right to hold information about people. Credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit) help lenders quickly process credit applications. If we did not hold such information then it would be much harder for you to obtain credit. A good credit record makes it easier for you to get credit. 480


Can I use Experian to do a credit check on another individual?
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No, you can only order your own credit report.

Click here for information about ordering your personal credit report. 789


What are my rights regarding CIFAS warnings?
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No CIFAS member organisation that receives a CIFAS warning from the system is allowed to automatically refuse to supply the facility, product, or service to you. They are required to make further enquiries to confirm your personal details before making a decision. However, there are occasions when, even though a CIFAS warning is present and your personal details have been properly confirmed, your application will not be approved. This is because your application is still subject to the member's standard checks and underwriting criteria and you may not meet them. If this is the case, the member will normally be able to tell you whether the decision was due to a credit score, adverse reference agency credit performance data, or their own specific policies.

To receive a copy of the data held about you from the fraud prevention agencies you should contact them directly. If you believe any of the data is incorrect, the details you receive from the agencies will explain how you can have it corrected. You may also be able to add a note to your report, which could help if you approach other companies in future. Click here for contact details of the fraud prevention agencies.

For more information about CIFAS, visit the CIFAS web site at www.cifas.org.uk. 503


How can I stop companies sending me unsolicited mail?
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You can write to the Mailing Preference Service and register to have your name removed from mailing lists. You can also register to stop unwanted phone calls, faxes, and e-mails. This will stop your name and address being used by 95% of the UK companies that you have dealt with before. Unfortunately, it cannot stop mailings from overseas organisations.

For further useful advice and information, visit the Direct Marketing Association web site at www.dma.org.uk. 922


How do 'human rights' affect Experian's work?
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In the UK, your human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. That act only directly affects public bodies. As we are not a public body, we are not directly affected by the act. 625


Does the Freedom of Information Act 2000 affect Experian?
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No, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives you the right to ask for information from public bodies (such as your local council or a government agency). As we are a private company, and not a public body, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not directly affect us. The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates private companies. 1018