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What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act and What you Should Know

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the recent update to this law called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) protect consumers against inaccurate information being reported by credit bureaus and the privacy of that information. What does this mean to you?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the recent update to this law
called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) protect
consumers against inaccurate information being reported by credit bureaus
and the privacy of that information. What does this mean to you?
 
When you make purchases on a credit card, make payments to your
accounts, open new bank or credit accounts, borrow money, buy a house or
a car, and even fund your education, your financial information is reported by
creditors and lenders to a credit bureau. 
 
The three major credit agencies that serve as clearinghouses for this
information are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each lender and credit
company may report your information to a different agency, depending on
the location of the business and the service agreement between the
companies, so each credit agency might print very different information on
your credit report. 
 
According to the FCRA, you have the right to know what is on your credit
report if you ask for it. You can contact each of the credit bureaus
separately and pay for a report at any time. However, if a company refuses
you credit, employment, or insurance, you may request a free copy of your
report within 60 days. Simply ask the company that denied you credit for the
name and contact information of the credit bureau they use. In addition, all
three agencies must provide a free copy of your report in cases where you
have been the victim of fraud or identity theft.
 
Due to the recent changes by the FACTA, you will be entitled to one free
copy of your report from each agency per calendar year, effective in all
states by the end of 2005. (You can order it at
www.annualcreditreport.com <http://www.annualcreditreport.com/> ) For
example, if you order a report from Equifax in June of 2005, you may
request a free report in June 2006. The credit bureaus must also supply you
with a list of everyone who has requested your report in the last year.
 
The FCRA requires that all credit bureaus and all information providers, such
as lenders, credit card companies, or landlords, correct any inaccuracies that
they are aware of in your report. If you find inaccurate or incomplete
information in your credit report, notify all three agencies by phone and
follow up in writing by using certified mail, return receipt requested, so you
will have documentation of all requests and responses by the bureaus. 
 
Also send a request for the correction in writing to the information provider.
If the provider finds that the inaccuracy is substantiated, they must notify all
national credit bureaus of the correction. If the dispute results in a change,
the credit bureau is required to provide you with written results and a free
copy of your adjusted report.
 
Privacy is a serious issue when it comes to your personal information, and the
FCRA includes provisions to guard the privacy of your credit report. Your
employer or a potential employer may only gain access to your credit history
with your consent. An employer, insurer, or creditor cannot access a report
that contains your medical information without your approval. Only people
with a legitimate business need, such as an application for credit or a rental
agreement, are allowed under the FCRA to obtain a copy of your credit
report.
 
The FACTA has enabled consumers to place a fraud alert on their credit
report with one phone call to the credit agency. In cases where you suspect
that you are the victim of identity theft, or have simply lost your identifying
information, you can stop potential thieves from accessing your credit. 
 
You can also get records from businesses where a thief has used your
personal information without your consent, provided you have a copy of the
police report detailing your identity theft. These records are invaluable in the
process of clearing your name after such a crime.
 
Also new with FACTA is the requirement that mortgage lenders and credit
bureaus provide consumers with their credit scores upon request. In
addition, if an information provider is sending negative information to a
national credit bureau for inclusion on your credit report, they must now
send you written notification prior to doing so.
 
These laws, the FCRA and its newer counterpart the FACTAHealth Fitness Articles, have made
significant strides toward protecting the consumer from potentially damaging
errors and breaches of privacy. 

More information can be found at http://www.apscreen.com

Article Tags: Fair Credit Reporting, Fair Credit, Credit Reporting, Credit Bureaus, Credit Report, Free Copy, Credit Bureau, Identity Theft

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cathy Taylor is a marketing consultant with over 25 years experience.

She specializes in internet marketing, strategy and plan development, as well as management of communications and public relations programs for small business sectors. She can be reached at Creative Communications:

creative-com@cox.net or by visiting www.apscreen.com



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