FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (FCRA)
Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) represents an U.S Government Federal Law that regulates the collection, analysis and use of personal or corporate bodies’ credit information among consumer reporting agencies, users of consumer reports and editors of consumer information. It was enacted in 1970 with subsequent amendments occurring in late 1990’s and in 2003. Continually, the law has been enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and civil societies alongside private litigants. Basically, the law restricts and controls any malicious practices that may result from access to sensitive individual or corporate credit information. The law offers a relief by guaranteeing rights and remedies when it comes to the various complications resulting from identity theft. The Fair Credit Report Act ensures and promotes the privacy, accuracy and fairness in the composition and handling of credit information.
Consumer reports refer to the history of credit and billing activity as well as the current status of credit accounts held by individuals or corporate bodies. Therefore, the law mitigates against unnecessary sharing or access to private information that can be done with wrongful intent either to taint the image, create or manipulate figures that these reports contain among other reasons. The law allows that consumers receive free copies of their credit reports such that they are in a position to point out any inaccuracies or disputes that may be evident. Credit reporting agencies are entities that collect, assemble and commercialize credit and financial information.
FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT protects consumer rights
In reference to identity theft, the FCRA establishes the various rights and responsibilities that consumers, users and furnishers of credit information have, such that when evidence of identity theft activity is experienced the rightful account holder or owner receives compensation for damages incurred. The law addresses cases of identity theft by blocking access to credit reports while opening a leeway to obtain justice for malicious transactions. Besides allowing annual free credit reports, the FCRA protects consumer rights by providing approaches and mechanisms of understanding, whistle blowing and avoiding identity theft activities. It allows consumers to place fraud alerts, obtain a review of their credit reports as well as allow the cancellation of compromised credit accounts or cards. A victim of identity theft has the right.
Under the FCRA:
- The consumer has the following rights that come in handy when a case of identity theft is reported.
- Access to credit report files on request.
- Established limitations to the sharing of consumer information.
- Right to investigate disputed credit information.
- Seeking of consent from the consumer before sharing sensitive credit information especially with employers.
- Correction, removal or updating of inaccurate information in the reports.
- Disclosure to credit score upon request.
In conclusion, to prove beyond doubt that malicious activity through identity theft occurred, FCRA facilitates the launch of fraud alerts, credit freezes, identity theft reports and affidavits. A victim of identity theft under the FCRA will enjoy the following benefits: blocking fraudulent information from inclusion on credit reports, placing extended fraud alert and limits the consumer from credit lending institutions that scramble for bad debts resulting from identity theft activities. The FCRA is essential as it maximizes the protection of consumer information via strict obligations put in place to ensure that the consumers privacy is guarded and lapses are effectively controlled.