Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides citizens of the United States a variety of rights regarding their private information and how it is used by consumer reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal act that makes sure that a citizen’s information is accurate, fair, and kept private whenever possible. Consumer reporting agencies that might use this information are credit bureaus, check writing bureaus, medical records, and rental records.

Citizens within the country are protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act under a variety of different rights that include the right to know what is in a person’s file, a person must be told if their information has been used, the right to ask for a credit score, the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information, the right to seek damages from violations and much more. The Fair Credit Reporting Act can be enforced by states if they wish but some people might have more rights under their individual state’s laws. Federal agencies that enforce the FCRA are the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and a few more agencies.

If a person ever has their information used against them, such as applying for a credit card, they are legally allowed to know what agency supplied the information and to whom they supplied it. Under the FCRA, citizens also have the right to know what is in their file, everything that is in there. To acquire the information in your file you must be able to provide proper identification. Proper identification includes a driver’s license, proof of address, and your Social Security number. In most circumstances the disclosure of your file will be free and you are entitled to a free disclosure if:

  • A person has taken adverse action against you because of information in your credit report
  • You are the victim of identity theft and place a fraud alert in your file
  • Your file contains inaccurate information as a result of fraud
  • You are on public assistance
  • You are unemployed but expect to apply for employment within 60 days

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act citizens also have the right to request a credit score and have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information in the report. Usually, when someone requests a credit score from a credit bureau it will cost that person a specified amount of money. If you find that any information in your credit report is incorrect, you can report the mistake to the credit bureau. They must investigate your claim unless they find the claim to be frivolous. After the investigation of the claim is complete the bureau must fix or remove the incorrect information from your credit report within 30 days. Another right under the FCRA is that citizens must give consent for a credit report to be given to an employer. One other right is that people are allowed to seek damages from violators of the FCRA in a federal court.