FACTA – How it changed the world!In 2003 , Congress passed a law, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, that enhanced consumer credit rights in a number of ways. FACTA made credit repair efforts much easier for consumers by ensuring that they had accurate information and also aimed to help those who had been victims of identity theft. It also enhanced your rights to medical privacy and provided ways to opt out of financial marketing. The law is broken down into a number of provisions, each of which can affect you:
Free Access to Credit ReportsUnder FACTA, consumers have the right to access their credit reports from the three major bureaus once a year. The most convenient way to do this is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com, the website operated by Experian, Equifax and TransUnion in cooperation with the FTC.
Protection Against Identity FraudThe identity fraud protections are broken down into several different parts, some of which are intended to prevent identity fraud, others of which are intended to help consumers recover if ID fraud occurs. Protections include:
- Truncated credit and debit numbers. Merchants are only permitted to print 5 digits of a card number to protect against theft. Those who violate this rule can be assessed for damages that are anywhere from $100 to $1000 per offense.
- Fraud alerts. If you report to the credit agencies that you are concerned that you have been or might soon become a victim of identity fraud, they must put a 90 day fraud alert on your accounts.
- Red flag rules. Financial institutions must have policies that help them assess whether one of their customers has been the victim of identity theft. Rules include ones that help them tell the difference between genuine and fraudulent change of address requests.