The New York Federal Reserve reports that more people are taking out credit cards, but only 50 percent of Americans checked their credit reports
in 2010, according to a consumer survey by credit.com. Nearly 27 percent surveyed said they had not checked their credit in over a year, and 22 percent said they had never checked their credit. People who are the victims of identity fraud and do not regularly check their credit reports could go months or years before discovering the damage. A report from Javelin found that while cases of identity fraud went down last year, the resulting cost to consumers increased 63 percent. "Consumers need to be more proactive in protecting their electronic transmissions and exposures of personal and financial information to prevent such fraud," said Michael Stanfield, chairman and CEO of Intersections, the group that cosponsored the study. Credit scores are used not only to approve consumers for loans, but also for rental and hiring decisions. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act stipulates that if a rating negatively impacts a consumer's financial transaction or hiring decision, lenders, landlords and employers will be required to supply consumers with the credit score used.