FAQs About Unfair Credit Report Acts and the FCRA

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FAQs About Unfair Credit Report Acts and the FCRA

What must companies do when providing information about me to credit reporting agencies?
Information furnishers, as defined by the FCRA, must do the following when providing information about you to a credit reporting agency:

  • Provide complete and accurate information to the credit reporting agencies;
  • Investigate disputed information from consumers falls on them, and they must correct an error, or explain why the credit report is correct within 30 days of receipt of notice of a dispute.
  • Inform consumers about negative information which has been or is about to be placed on a consumer’s credit report within 30 days.

What are the requirements for a company who uses information about me that they obtained from a credit reporting agency?
A company who uses information obtained from a credut reporting agency must notify you and identify which company provided the report.

What are my rights under the FCRA against Consumer Reporting Agencies?
Generally, a Consumer Reporting Agency, such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, must:

  • Disclose your credit file to you upon request.
  • Limit access to your information.
  • Obtain your consent before providing your information to an employer.
  • Investigate information on your credit report that you believe is incorrect (dispute)
  • Correct or delete inaccurate information.
  • Delete outdated information after seven (7) years unless you have filed bankruptcy, which it then must be removed after 10 years.
  • Remove your name from marketing lists that they supply information to upon your request.
  • Disclose your credit score to you upon request.
  • Add identity theft and active duty alerts.
  • Help to remedy the effects of identity theft.

What can I do to protect my credit reports and to prevent identity theft?
While it may be impossible to prevent identify theft there are a number of precautions you can take including:

  • Do not give out personally-identifying information such as Social Security Number, date of birth, or mother’s maiden name unless necessary;
  • Request your credit report to inspect it for errors, to determine whether accounts have been opened without your knowledge or consent, and to see who has requested your credit history.
  • Opt-out of:
    “Prescreening”, which is the practice of selling lists of customers based on information in your  credit file;
    Marketing offers that derive from affiliate sharing.
    “Affiliate information sharing.”
  • Request that the last five digits of your Social Security Number be withheld.
  • Immediately place a “fraud alert” if you have been or suspect identity theft.

What can I get if my rights under the FCRA are violated?
Regardless of whether the violation was willfuil or negligent, if you prevail on your claim you are entitled to the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees.
If the violation was willful, you get your actual damages, if any, or any amount from $100.00 to $1,000.00, and possibly punitive damages. If the violation was negligent, you are not entitled to any statutory minimum; all you can get is your actual damages.

What should I do if I believe my rights have been violated under the FCRA?
Contact Lapin Law Offices for a free consultation to learn more about your rights.