Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was put in place to help protect the accuracy and privacy of your information that the credit or consumer reporting agencies use. This information may be used to determine loan or credit amounts or interest rates. It is also used for housing, employment, or even check cashing.
Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- You must be notified if a credit or consumer report has been used against you – if you have been denied credit, housing, employment, or anything else due to information found in your credit report, background check, or any kind of employment screening, those using the information must tell you, and they must give you the name, address, and phone number of the agency that provide them with the information.
- You are entitled to a copy of your file – you can request a copy of your file from any credit reporting or consumer reporting agency. You will need proper identification to do so. You may also be entitled to a free file disclosure if the information in the report was used against you, you have a fraud alert on your file due to identity theft, your file has fraudulent errors, you are on public assistance, or you are unemployed and seeking employment within the next 60 days.
- Free Credit Report – everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three large credit bureaus every 12 months. You can go to annualcreditreport.com and request a free report from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, or you can contact each bureau directly and request a free copy.
- You have the right to ask for your credit score – though it may not be free, you do have the right to ask for your credit score from consumer agencies that create or distribute them.
- Dispute Errors on your Consumer Reports – If you find mistakes on your credit report, background checks, or any consumer report, you have the right to report it to the agency that provided the report. The agency must look into the errors.
- Inaccuracies must be corrected or removed – if you found mistakes and reported them to the consumer reporting agency and they cannot verify that the information is in fact correct, they must remove it within 30 days.
- Outdated Negative information cannot be reported – negative information over seven years old is not allowed to be used in your credit report, bankruptcies over ten years old may not be reported.
- Access to your info is limited – only those who have a legitimate need are allowed access to information in your consumer reports. This is generally someone you would be doing business with, such as an employer, landlord, creditor, or an insurer.
- Employers must have your consent to access your consumer reports – Any current or potential employer must have your written consent in order to access any of your consumer reports such as a credit report, background check, or any pre employment screening. The only exception is the trucking industry
- You may seek damages – you have the right to sue a consumer reporting agency and, in some cases, the person that used the consumer reporting agency that violates the FCRA.
This is just a summary of the rights you have under the FCRA. Your state may have even more protection for consumers.
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If you feel any of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) have been violated, you may be entitled to damages.
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You can also view the complete FCRA.