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Fair Credit Reporting Act Protects Consumer Credit Rights

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, July 15th, 2010

101929166The Fair Credit Reporting Act which was passed in 1970 is the foundation of consumer credit rights in the United States today. The fairness, accuracy, and privacy of all your personal data in the records of consumer report agencies is promoted by the FCRA. However, keep in mind that some states have their own consumer reporting laws and you may have more rights under the laws of your state. Here are some of major rights afforded by this piece of legislation:

  • You must be informed if the information contained by a consumer report of yours was used against you
  • You have the right to know the content of your file
  • You have the right to ask for your credit score
  • You have the right to challenge incorrect information
  • Access by others to your file is limited
  • Consumer reporting agencies cannot report dated information
  • You must give consent before your report can be provided to employers

Thousands of people’s applications for credit cards and other important loans as well as housing and employment opportunities are being turned down due to erroneous information contained by their credit reports. The FCRA gives you the right to view the contents of your credit report and to challenge it if the content is either outdated or incorrect and have it deleted from your report.

The FCRA also offers specific protection for people who are victims of identity theft. It gives you the right to ask nationwide consumer reporting agencies to put fraud alerts in your file to inform prospective creditors and others that you are a victim of identity theft in order to alert creditors to follow additional security procedures in order to protect you. However, these added security measures delay your acquirement of your credit.

Placing a fraud alert in your file only requires you to call only one of the three nationwide consumer reporting bureaus since the bureau you call will also give notice to the other two. You’re also entitled to a copy of the entire information in your file stored by the three nationwide bureaus upon your initial fraud alert, while an extended alert gives you to two more in the period of a year in order to help you spot indications of fraud. You can also obtain documents which are connected to fraud transactions made by accounts which use your personal information from a creditor or other business institutions if you ask for them in writing. Under only certain circumstances can a business refuse to furnish you these documents. However, there are circumstances wherein your request for information can be denied.

There are websites which offers a free case review to help ensure that the error in your report is corrected. They also sometimes offer assistance if you don’t understand the information your credit report contains. Equifax can be contacted at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-EXPERIAN and TransUnion at 1-800-860-7289.

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