Renter worried about handing out credit report

New laws aim to protect against ID theft

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Q: I'm uneasy about providing my Social Security number on a rental application. Should I worry about sharing that information? A: You are right to worry about providing personal credit information. In November, the Federal Trade Commission reported that 8.3 million U.S. adults had been victims of identity theft in 2005. In response to consumer concerns, the federal government has focused its attention on the use and abuse of credit report information. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates who may obtain your information, how it may be used, and what penalties can be levied against those who flout the law. The site can be accessed at Several sections apply to landlords, including the circumstances under which credit information may be collected. According to the FTC site, credit reports can be requested only for the purposes of extending credit; reviewing or collecting a debt; applying for employment; underwriting insurance; or in connection with som...