GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Recent security breaches, including the one at credit-reporting giant Equifax, are raising a lot of questions.

The Equifax breach prompted one KARE 11 viewer to ask whether the concept of the credit reporting bureau and the fact that there are only three in the country, is a government requirement or did it come out of the free market?

We set out to Verify which is correct.

First, we should point out the viewer is referring to three nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

We reached out to the Federal Trade Commission to get some answers. Our Verify source is Benjamin Rossen, a senior attorney in the FTC's Division of Privacy & Identity Protection.

He can Verify that the credit reporting agencies are private entities and there is no government requirement about the number of credit bureaus that exist. He says it's also important to note that there are more than three credit reporting agencies, though Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the largest. Innovis and ChexSystems are examples of other lesser known credit reporting agencies.

We should remind you that it's important for you to Verify your own credit information on a regular basis to make sure it's accurate. You can do so by clicking here for a free copy of your credit report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies, which is available for free once every 12 months.

If there's something you'd like us to Verify, you can send an email to


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