Facts on FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act


Fact Sheet 6aFacts on FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA) added new sections to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), intended primarily to help consumers fight the growing crime of identity theft. Accuracy, privacy, limits on information sharing, and new consumer rights to disclosure are included in FACTA. (Pub. L. 108-159, 111 Stat. 1952)

This is all good news for consumers. However, consumers came out on the losing end when Congress virtually barred states from adopting stronger laws. Read our Fact Sheet for a summary and update of FACTA provisions.

"Other" Consumer Reports: What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports


Fact Sheet 6b"Other" Consumer Reports:
What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports

Despite its name, the Fair Credit Reporting Act covers a lot more than simply credit reports. Credit reports are just one of a broader category of consumer reports covered by the FCRA. Consumer reports can also include reports about you made to employers, insurance companies, banks, and landlords. In recent years, many new companies have sprouted, compiling reports specifically targeted at employers, insurers, and landlords. The companies that compile reports for targeted users are “consumer reporting agencies” under the FCRA, just like the three national credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Companies that compile reports on consumers for other than credit have been designated by Congress as “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies.” These agencies compile reports about much more than just your credit history. Here are a few examples of the types of reports that they compile:

  • Medical conditions (for example, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) report)
  • Residential or tenant history and evictions (for example, the Unlawful Detainer (UD) Registry)
  • Check writing history (for example ChexSystems)
  • Employment background checks
  • Homeowner and auto insurance claims (for example, CLUE reports)

Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003


The detection of red flags and the need to reconcile address discrepancies are among the most important anti-identity theft measures included in FACTA. Effective business policies and practices that spot attempted and actual identity theft early have great potential for relieving this national crime wave. This was the promise and Congress’ intent when it directed the Agencies to adopt Red Flag Regulations along with procedures to reconcile address discrepancies in credit reports.

Comments to Federal Agencies Regarding the Use of Personal Medical Data by Financial Institutions


When it comes to privacy, consumer expectations and fears are most elevated for sensitive data included in medical records. A major concern is potential secondary uses of medical information. For example, a consumer may understandably be concerned that a medical condition could adversely affect the ability to get a job or a mortgage. In recent amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Congress acted to address the discriminatory use of medical information in credit transactions.

New Look for Prescreened Credit and Insurance Offers


tarting August 1, 2005, unsolicited offers for credit or insurance that are based on information in your credit report should be easier to spot.

New regulations adopted by the Federal Trade Commission now require notices to prominently display the toll free number (1-888-5OPTOUT or 1-888-567-8688) to opt-out. Now, this number, along with a statement that you can stop the unsolicited offers, must appear - in at least 12-point type - on the first page of the offer.

Consumers in Midwest States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting March 1, 2005


A new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003 gives consumers nationwide the right to receive a free copy of their credit report. The law is being phased in through the U.S. and Midwest states are next on the rollout list. The ability for consumers to get a free copy of their credit report annually started on the West Coast on December 1, 2004, and individuals living in the Midwest can start receiving their reports on March 1, 2005.

Consumers Can Get Free “Specialty” Consumer Reports Starting December 1, 2004


SAN DIEGO, CA – The arrival of free credit reports on December 1st is getting a lot of attention these days. (www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.htm) But there is another kind of report, called “specialty consumer reports,” that individuals can obtain at no charge beginning on the first of the month. The federal law that requires credit reporting bureaus to provide free reports is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, also known as FACTA. The law also gives consumers the right to one free report prepared by a “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency” that compiles files on consumers.

Consumers in West Coast States Can Get Free Credit Reports Starting December 1, 2004


Beginning December 1, 2004, consumers living in the western U.S. will have the right to order a free copy of their credit report thanks to a new federal law, known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, adopted by Congress in 2003. Consumers elsewhere in the nation will get the same right over the next year as the law is phased in across the country. By requiring credit reporting bureaus to provide free credit reports annually upon request, the new law enables consumers to more readily monitor if they are victims of identity theft or if their credit reports contain errors.

Consumer Notice Requirements for Opting Out of Pre-Approved Offers of Credit


For years, consumers have received preapproved credit offers with required notices and opt-out telephone numbers buried in fine print along with other mandatory legal notices. We support the Commission’s proposal to provide a layered notice. The proposal calls for a “short notice” on the principal promotional document. The short notice includes the most important information, including opt-out telephone number, with direction to a “long notice” located elsewhere in the solicitation.

Comments on FACTA Disposal Rule, RIN 3064-AC77: Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act Disposal of Consumer Report Information and Records


Irresponsible handling of sensitive consumer data has long been cited as a contributing factor to identity theft. A practice known as "dumpster diving" is often claimed by thieves themselves as the source of the data that allowed them to commit the crime. Sensitive data discarded by a financial institution provides a prime opportunity for a crook to access another's personal data.

By enacting §216 requiring proper disposal of consumer information, Congress has given the public one of the strongest tools yet in combating the growing crime of identity theft. It is now up to the financial regulators and the FTC to carry out Congress' intent by adopting strong regulations to ensure identity theft is no longer fed by careless and irresponsible disposal of confidential consumer data.

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