Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has been updated and is now called the new Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA). Passed in December 2003; it added new regulations for identity theft protections, data privacy and credit report access and allows consumers to request one free consumer disclosure (credit report) from each credit reporting agency once per year and requires an on-line ordering program.
You have three options for requesting your FREE Credit Reports
Use the central web site at www.annualcreditreport.com
Call the free annual credit report number, toll-free at 877-322-8228
Use the Annual Credit Report Request Form (upper right) to request a copy of the Annual Credit Report Request Form. My system will immediatly email the form to whatever email address you prefer. Simply fill out the form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
The mailing address is also printed on the form.
Important: Free credit reports were phased in during a nine-month period, rolling from the West Coast to the East beginning December 1, 2004 and by September 1, 2005, free credit reports are accessible to all Americans, regardless of where they live.
CAUTION: Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are only providing free annual credit reports through the central web site: www.annualcreditreport.com (for security reasons, you must copy and paste, or manually type this address into your web browser)
Bill of Rights (FACTA)
- You must be told if the information in your file has been used against you.
- You can find out what is in your credit file.
- You can dispute inaccurate information with the credit reporting agencies.
- Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted.
- You can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information.
- Outdated negative information (over 7-10 years old usually) may not be reported.
- Business access to your credit file is limited.
- Your consent is required for reports provided to employers or for medical information contained in your report.
- You can choose to exclude your name from credit reporting agency lists for unsolicited credit and insurance offers.
- You may seek damages from violators of the FCRA.
The new Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) has been approved by both Houses of Congress and was sent to President for his signature. It amends the current Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to "prevent identity theft, improve resolutions of consumer disputes, improve accuracy of consumer records, make improvements in the use of, and consumer access to credit information, and for other purposes."
Beginning January 01, 2004 the new provisions will make it easier for consumers in all fifty states to deal with their credit files. Among the new FACTA provisions are a free copy, annually upon request, of credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs), disclosure of credit scores, which are used by lenders when making lending decisions and several identity theft measures including 'Fraud Alerts' in credit files.
Further, when requesting free credit reports, the law includes a provision whereby the CRA's must notify consumers of their right to get their credit scores and also include an explanation of factors that may have a negative affect on your score. Now consumers may dispute directly to the creditor and the CRA, plus creditors must notify a consumer whenever negative information is going to be sent to a CRA for inclusion in a credit file, reducing the number of inaccurate reports going into files because the consumer will know in advance. Now, consumers would know in advance if a lender was making a false report on a late pay or other delinquency, for instance, and therefore may dispute it directly before it hits a credit file.
Further, to help consumers who are actively shopping for a mortgage, automobile or other type of loan, avoid having an incredible number of inquiries on their credit reports as a result, would receive a special notification from the CRA that these inquiries are lowering the consumer's credit score. Here is a summary of the major amendments:
- Provide consumers with a free credit report every year.
- Give consumers the right to see their credit scores.
- Provide consumers with the ability to opt-out of information sharing between affiliated companies for marketing purposes.
- Ensure that consumers are notified if merchants are going to report negative information to the credit bureaus about them.
- Allow consumers to place "fraud alerts" in their credit reports to prevent identity thieves from opening accounts in their names, including special provisions to protect active duty military personnel.
- Allow consumers to block information from being given to a credit bureau and from being reported by a credit bureau if such information results from identity theft.
- Restrict access to consumers' sensitive health information.
- Provide consumers with one-call-for-all protection by requiring credit bureaus to share consumer calls on identity theft, including requested fraud alert blocking.
- Require creditors to take certain precautions before extending credit to consumers who have placed "fraud alerts" in their files.
- Stop merchants from printing more than the last five digits of a payment card on an electronic receipt.
Reasons For Bad Credit: Lost job or income unexpectedly; Separation or Divorce; Co-signed for another; bankrupt; Maxed out credit cards; Illness or other accidental disability; Tax liens or judgments; bounced checks; Victim of crime or fraud;
Reasons For Credit File Problems: Late or missed payments; delinquent items, now paid BUT not removed; Separation and/or divorce; Bankruptcy; Collection and/or charge-offs; Other family members with same/similar name; All credit cards leases or loans not listed; Incorrect information in file; Too many credit inquiries; Victim of fraud;