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 Reports
Under 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 Fraud
The 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.
Enhanced Medical Privacy
Health issues can be used to discriminate against people when they are job or house hunting. Under FACTA, medical creditor names and addresses cannot be included in reports sent to third parties unless they are coded. This way, the details of your medical history won’t be inadvertently revealed.
Opting Out of Marketing
Under FACTA, you have the right to restrict businesses from sharing your information with affiliates for marketing purposes. Once you opt out, that restriction is good for five years.
Your Right to Dispute Inaccuracies in Your Credit Report
When you are working toward a home purchase, inaccurate negative reports can keep you from getting the loan that you want. Under FACTA, you have the right to dispute inaccurate reports directly with the agency that supplied the information. When you, or a credit repair agency working on your behalf, make a written request for validation of a debt, the creditor must respond within 30 days if they feel that the debt is valid.
Being aware of your rights under the law can help enhance your financial health and increase your opportunities. With this knowledge, you can expand your employment prospects, spend less money on financial products ranging from mortgages to insurance and increase your family’s prosperity.