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FACTA Explained

FACTA ("Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act") is a 2003 amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") drafted with the purpose of protecting consumers from the growing trend of identity theft.  The Act primarily demands privacy of disseminated information as well as limits how consumer information can be shared. 

Since the enactment of FACTA, requirements were adopted to better protect consumers from becoming a victim of identity theft.  Under the Act, consumers are entitled to receive one free copy of their credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.  The amendment to the statute required each of the credit reporting agencies to set up the website, AnnualCreditReport.com, to provide free access to consumer reports.  In its entirety, the Act contains seven titles, a few of which are highlighted below. 

The first provision, Identity Theft Prevention and Credit History Restoration, deals mainly with the prevention of identity theft.  The first aspect of this section allows consumers the opportunity to put a fraud alert on their credit report as well as an active duty alert for military who have been deployed.  A fraud alert requires the credit reporting agencies, at the consumer's request, to put an alert on the consumer report, that he or she has been the victim of identity theft.  The alert is to remain on the consumer's file for 90 days and the credit reporting agency must notify all other agencies of the alert.  Similarly, a military or active duty alert remains on the consumer's credit file for one year, during deployment.  Consumers have the option to request an extended alert which will remain on the credit file for seven years.
  
The second aspect of this title is the truncation of credit and debit card numbers.  Under this section, businesses are prohibited from printing more than five digits of a consumer's credit card number or account number and expiration date on any receipt provided at the time of sale.  This provision is enforced with statutory damages ranging from $100 to $1000 per violation.
 
The third aspect of this title focuses on identification of possible identity theft, known as the Red Flags Rule.  This rule required the Federal banking agencies and the Federal Trade Commission to regulate identity theft occurring within financial institutions by regulating change of consumer address procedures and identity theft education programs for employees.   

The second title of the Act, Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History, focuses on how the credit reporting agencies can help victims get back on track after the devastating occurrence.  This title requires the FTC and the Federal banking agencies to prepare a summary of the rights of consumers with respect to the procedures for remedying the effects of fraud and identity theft.  All reporting agencies are required to provide a summary to any consumer that contacts the agency stating he or she has been a victim of fraud or identity theft.  Furthermore, this title requires the credit reporting agencies to block the reporting of consumer information after receiving notice that the consumer has been a victim of identity theft. 
 
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft and need the advice of assistance of counsel, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.

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