Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
One of the most
important laws protecting your identity and credit information is
Credit Reporting Act.
Designed to promote the accuracy, fairness,
and privacy of the information collected and maintained by credit
reporting agencies, the FCRA
gives you specific rights:
You must be told if your information is used against you. If you
are denied credit, employment, or insurance because of information
in your report, the denying party must alert you and provide you
with the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting
agency used to support the denial.
You have access to your file. Upon request, a credit reporting
agency must give you the information in your file and a list of
everyone who has requested it within a certain time period. There
is no charge if you have been denied credit, employment, or insurance
because of items in your file (if you make a request within 60 days).
In addition, you're entitled to one free report every 12 months
if you are unemployed or on welfare, or have proof that your report
You can dispute inaccurate information. A credit reporting agency
must investigate items that you report as inaccurate. You will receive
a full copy of the investigation report. If the dispute is not settled
to your satisfaction, you may add a statement to your report.
Inaccurate information must be corrected or deleted. Credit reporting
agencies are required to remove or correct inaccurate or unverified
information. They are not required to remove accurate data unless
it is outdated.
Access to your file is limited. Only people and institutions with
needs recognized by the FCRA
may legally gain access to your file. This normally includes creditors,
government agencies, insurers, employers, landlords, and some businesses.
You can remove your name from credit reporting agency lists used
for unsolicited credit and insurance offers. Unsolicited offers
must include a toll-free phone number you can call to remove yourself
from credit reporting agency lists.