Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies will overhaul their business practices and two of the agencies will offer Mississippians unlimited access to free credit reports over the next three years in order to resolve the Attorney General’s investigation into the agencies’ mistakes on credit reports and deceptive marketing activities. The agencies were accused of putting their own interests ahead of those of Mississippi consumers by failing to properly verify debts and failing to delete paid or expired debts from credit reports.
The credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax will pay the state a total of $7.175 million. Starting in November, Mississippi residents will be eligible to receive unlimited free credit reports for three years, one free FICO credit score every year for three years, in addition to other benefits provided by the credit bureaus under terms of settlements with Attorney General Hood.
The three credit reporting agencies compile and sell credit reports on almost every Mississippi adult. The reports are the basis for determining whether and on what terms consumers are offered credit cards, student loans, auto loans, mortgages or rental housing. The information on the reports may impact the security clearance of a member of the military, or it may be the difference for employers in determining whether to offer someone a job.