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FCRA—Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law stipulating the manner in which consumer reporting agencies may use personal information. Mainly, the FCRA determines who can obtain personal credit information and how that data might be utilized. Designed to protect the consumer, the FCRA does so in a number of ways:

The FCRA makes it mandatory that consumer reporting agencies must supply you with any details in your file upon request.

Consumer reporting agencies must protect your personal credit information. They are not allowed to pass on any of this data to a third party without a permissible purpose. This includes but is not limited to grading applications for loans, credit, services or employment.

Unless you provide explicit permission, a consumer reporting entity cannot supply your credit information to an existing or potential employer.

Anytime you notify a consumer reporting service that your personal file contains misinformation or errors of any kind, that agency without failure must immediately investigate those inaccuracies at their source. If you are not satisfied with the resolution, you have the right to include your own statement and have it become part of your credit file.

Unverifiable or inaccurate information must be either deleted or amended from your credit file when you present this data to the consumer reporting agency.

As further protection to the consumer, negative credit reports in excess of seven years—bankruptcies are eliminated after 10 years—must be erased from credit files.

The three major consumer reporting firms have the legal right to pass on personal credit information to insurers and creditors seeking qualified clients. The consumer may be removed from those lists by calling 1-888-5-OPT OUT.

Your personal credit score must be provided to you upon request.

You have the right to append your credit file with identity theft and active duty alerts. Victims of identity theft can install fraud alerts while active duty military personnel may place active duty alerts on their accounts.

The FCRA is meant to protect the consumer. If you think you are being targeted for identity theft, you do have assigned rights as designated by the FCRA.