Fair Credit Reporting Act

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Introduction

An Act To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to prevent identity theft, improve resolution of consumer disputes, improve the accuracy of consumer records, make improvements in the use of, and consumer access to, credit information, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003′. (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. Sec. 2. Definitions. Sec. 3. Effective dates. TITLE I–IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION AND CREDIT HISTORY RESTORATION Subtitle A–Identity Theft Prevention Sec. 111. Amendment to definitions. Sec. 112. Fraud alerts and active duty alerts. Sec. 113. Truncation of credit card and debit card account numbers. Sec. 114. Establishment of procedures for the identification of possible instances of identity theft. Sec. 115. Authority to truncate social security numbers. Subtitle B–Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History Sec. 151. Summary of rights of identity theft victims. Sec. 152. Blocking of information resulting from identity theft. Sec. 153. Coordination of identity theft complaint investigations. Sec. 154. Prevention of repollution of consumer reports. Sec. 155. Notice by debt collectors with respect to fraudulent information. Sec. 156. Statute of limitations. Sec. 157. Study on the use of technology to combat identity theft. TITLE II–IMPROVEMENTS IN USE OF AND CONSUMER ACCESS TO CREDIT INFORMATION Sec. 211. Free consumer reports. Sec. 212. Disclosure of credit scores. Sec. 213. Enhanced disclosure of the means available to opt out of prescreened lists. Sec. 214. Affiliate sharing. Sec. 215. Study of effects of credit scores and credit-based insurance scores on availability and affordability of financial products. Sec. 216. Disposal of consumer report information and records. Sec. 217. Requirement to disclose communications to a consumer reporting agency. TITLE III–ENHANCING THE ACCURACY OF CONSUMER REPORT INFORMATION Sec. 311. Risk-based pricing notice. Sec. 312. Procedures to enhance the accuracy and integrity of information furnished to consumer reporting agencies. Sec. 313. FTC and consumer reporting agency action concerning complaints. Sec. 314. Improved disclosure of the results of reinvestigation. Sec. 315. Reconciling addresses. Sec. 316. Notice of dispute through reseller. Sec. 317. Reasonable reinvestigation required. Sec. 318. FTC study of issues relating to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Sec. 319. FTC study of the accuracy of consumer reports. TITLE IV–LIMITING THE USE AND SHARING OF MEDICAL INFORMATION IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM Sec. 411. Protection of medical information in the financial system. Sec. 412. Confidentiality of medical contact information in consumer reports. TITLE V–FINANCIAL LITERACY AND EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT Sec. 511. Short title. Sec. 512. Definitions. Sec. 513. Establishment of Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Sec. 514. Duties of the Commission. Sec. 515. Powers of the Commission. Sec. 516. Commission personnel matters. Sec. 517. Studies by the Comptroller General. Sec. 518. The national public service multimedia campaign to enhance the state of financial literacy. Sec. 519. Authorization of appropriations. TITLE VI–PROTECTING EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS Sec. 611. Certain employee investigation communications excluded from definition of consumer report. TITLE VII–RELATION TO STATE LAWS Sec. 711. Relation to State laws. TITLE VIII–MISCELLANEOUS Sec. 811. Clerical amendments. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act– (1) the term `Board’ means the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (2) the term `Commission’, other than as used in title V, means the Federal Trade Commission; (3) the terms `consumer’, `consumer report’, `consumer reporting agency’, `creditor’, `Federal banking agencies’, and `financial institution’ have the same meanings as in section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by this Act; and (4) the term `affiliates’ means persons that are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control. SEC. 3. EFFECTIVE DATES. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act and the amendments made by this Act– (1) before the end of the 2-month period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Board and the Commission shall jointly prescribe regulations in final form establishing effective dates for each provision of this Act; and (2) the regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall establish effective dates that are as early as possible, while allowing a reasonable time for the implementation of the provisions of this Act, but in no case shall any such effective date be later than 10 months after the date of issuance of such regulations in final form.

TITLE I–IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION AND CREDIT HISTORY RESTORATION

Subtitle A–Identity Theft Prevention Sec. 111. Amendment to definitions. Sec. 112. Fraud alerts and active duty alerts. Sec. 113. Truncation of credit card and debit card account numbers. Sec. 114. Establishment of procedures for the identification of possible instances of identity theft. Sec. 115. Authority to truncate social security numbers. Subtitle B–Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History Sec. 151. Summary of rights of identity theft victims. Sec. 152. Blocking of information resulting from identity theft. Sec. 153. Coordination of identity theft complaint investigations. Sec. 154. Prevention of repollution of consumer reports. Sec. 155. Notice by debt collectors with respect to fraudulent information. Sec. 156. Statute of limitations. Sec. 157. Study on the use of technology to combat identity theft.

SEC. 111. AMENDMENT TO DEFINITIONS.

Section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a) is amended by adding at the end the following: (q) DEFINITIONS RELATING TO FRAUD ALERTS- (1) ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY CONSUMER- The term `active duty military consumer’ means a consumer in military service who– (A) is on active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code) or is a reservist performing duty under a call or order to active duty under a provision of law referred to in section 101(a)(13) of title 10, United States Code; and (B) is assigned to service away from the usual duty station of the consumer. (2) FRAUD ALERT; ACTIVE DUTY ALERT- The terms `fraud alert’ and `active duty alert’ mean a statement in the file of a consumer that– (A) notifies all prospective users of a consumer report relating to the consumer that the consumer may be a victim of fraud, including identity theft, or is an active duty military consumer, as applicable; and (B) is presented in a manner that facilitates a clear and conspicuous view of the statement described in subparagraph (A) by any person requesting such consumer report. (3) IDENTITY THEFT- The term `identity theft’ means a fraud committed using the identifying information of another person, subject to such further definition as the Commission may prescribe, by regulation. (4) IDENTITY THEFT REPORT- The term `identity theft report’ has the meaning given that term by rule of the Commission, and means, at a minimum, a report– (A) that alleges an identity theft; (B) that is a copy of an official, valid report filed by a consumer with an appropriate Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, including the United States Postal Inspection Service, or such other government agency deemed appropriate by the Commission; and (C) the filing of which subjects the person filing the report to criminal penalties relating to the filing of false information if, in fact, the information in the report is false. (5) NEW CREDIT PLAN- The term `new credit plan’ means a new account under an open end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i) of the Truth in Lending Act) or a new credit transaction not under an open end credit plan. (r) Credit and Debit Related Terms– (1) CARD ISSUER- The term `card issuer’ means– (A) a credit card issuer, in the case of a credit card; and (B) a debit card issuer, in the case of a debit card. (2) CREDIT CARD- The term `credit card’ has the same meaning as in section 103 of the Truth in Lending Act. (3) DEBIT CARD- The term `debit card’ means any card issued by a financial institution to a consumer for use in initiating an electronic fund transfer from the account of the consumer at such financial institution, for the purpose of transferring money between accounts or obtaining money, property, labor, or services. (4) ACCOUNT AND ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFER- The terms `account’ and `electronic fund transfer’ have the same meanings as in section 903 of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. (5) CREDIT AND CREDITOR- The terms `credit’ and `creditor’ have the same meanings as in section 702 of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. (s) FEDERAL BANKING AGENCY- The term `Federal banking agency’ has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. (t) FINANCIAL INSTITUTION- The term `financial institution’ means a State or National bank, a State or Federal savings and loan association, a mutual savings bank, a State or Federal credit union, or any other person that, directly or indirectly, holds a transaction account (as defined in section 19(b) of the Federal Reserve Act) belonging to a consumer. (u) RESELLER- The term `reseller’ means a consumer reporting agency that– (1) assembles and merges information contained in the database of another consumer reporting agency or multiple consumer reporting agencies concerning any consumer for purposes of furnishing such information to any third party, to the extent of such activities; and (2) does not maintain a database of the assembled or merged information from which new consumer reports are produced. (v) COMMISSION- The term `Commission’ means the Federal Trade Commission. (w) NATIONWIDE SPECIALTY CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY- The term `nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency’ means a consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis relating to– (1) medical records or payments; (2) residential or tenant history; (3) check writing history; (4) employment history; or (5) insurance claims.’.

SEC. 112. FRAUD ALERTS AND ACTIVE DUTY ALERTS.

(a) FRAUD ALERTS- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 605 the following: Sec. 605A. Identity theft prevention; fraud alerts and active duty alerts (a) ONE-CALL FRAUD ALERTS- (1) INITIAL ALERTS- Upon the direct request of a consumer, or an individual acting on behalf of or as a personal representative of a consumer, who asserts in good faith a suspicion that the consumer has been or is about to become a victim of fraud or related crime, including identity theft, a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) that maintains a file on the consumer and has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester shall– (A) include a fraud alert in the file of that consumer, and also provide that alert along with any credit score generated in using that file, for a period of not less than 90 days, beginning on the date of such request, unless the consumer or such representative requests that such fraud alert be removed before the end of such period, and the agency has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester for such purpose; and (B) refer the information regarding the fraud alert under this paragraph to each of the other consumer reporting agencies described in section 603(p), in accordance with procedures developed under section 621(f). (2) ACCESS TO FREE REPORTS- In any case in which a consumer reporting agency includes a fraud alert in the file of a consumer pursuant to this subsection, the consumer reporting agency shall– (A) disclose to the consumer that the consumer may request a free copy of the file of the consumer pursuant to section 612(d); and (B) provide to the consumer all disclosures required to be made under section 609, without charge to the consumer, not later than 3 business days after any request described in subparagraph (A). (b) EXTENDED ALERTS- (1) IN GENERAL- Upon the direct request of a consumer, or an individual acting on behalf of or as a personal representative of a consumer, who submits an identity theft report to a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) that maintains a file on the consumer, if the agency has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester, the agency shall– (A) include a fraud alert in the file of that consumer, and also provide that alert along with any credit score generated in using that file, during the 7-year period beginning on the date of such request, unless the consumer or such representative requests that such fraud alert be removed before the end of such period and the agency has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester for such purpose; (B) during the 5-year period beginning on the date of such request, exclude the consumer from any list of consumers prepared by the consumer reporting agency and provided to any third party to offer credit or insurance to the consumer as part of a transaction that was not initiated by the consumer, unless the consumer or such representative requests that such exclusion be rescinded before the end of such period; and (C) refer the information regarding the extended fraud alert under this paragraph to each of the other consumer reporting agencies described in section 603(p), in accordance with procedures developed under section 621(f). (2) ACCESS TO FREE REPORTS- In any case in which a consumer reporting agency includes a fraud alert in the file of a consumer pursuant to this subsection, the consumer reporting agency shall– (A) disclose to the consumer that the consumer may request 2 free copies of the file of the consumer pursuant to section 612(d) during the 12-month period beginning on the date on which the fraud alert was included in the file; and (B) provide to the consumer all disclosures required to be made under section 609, without charge to the consumer, not later than 3 business days after any request described in subparagraph (A). (c) ACTIVE DUTY ALERTS- Upon the direct request of an active duty military consumer, or an individual acting on behalf of or as a personal representative of an active duty military consumer, a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) that maintains a file on the active duty military consumer and has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester shall– (1) include an active duty alert in the file of that active duty military consumer, and also provide that alert along with any credit score generated in using that file, during a period of not less than 12 months, or such longer period as the Commission shall determine, by regulation, beginning on the date of the request, unless the active duty military consumer or such representative requests that such fraud alert be removed before the end of such period, and the agency has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester for such purpose; (2) during the 2-year period beginning on the date of such request, exclude the active duty military consumer from any list of consumers prepared by the consumer reporting agency and provided to any third party to offer credit or insurance to the consumer as part of a transaction that was not initiated by the consumer, unless the consumer requests that such exclusion be rescinded before the end of such period; and (3) refer the information regarding the active duty alert to each of the other consumer reporting agencies described in section 603(p), in accordance with procedures developed under section 621(f). (d) PROCEDURES- Each consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) shall establish policies and procedures to comply with this section, including procedures that inform consumers of the availability of initial, extended, and active duty alerts and procedures that allow consumers and active duty military consumers to request initial, extended, or active duty alerts (as applicable) in a simple and easy manner, including by telephone. (e) REFERRALS OF ALERTS- Each consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) that receives a referral of a fraud alert or active duty alert from another consumer reporting agency pursuant to this section shall, as though the agency received the request from the consumer directly, follow the procedures required under– (1) paragraphs (1)(A) and (2) of subsection (a), in the case of a referral under subsection (a)(1)(B); (2) paragraphs (1)(A), (1)(B), and (2) of subsection (b), in the case of a referral under subsection (b)(1)(C); and (3) paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c), in the case of a referral under subsection (c)(3). (f) DUTY OF RESELLER TO RECONVEY ALERT- A reseller shall include in its report any fraud alert or active duty alert placed in the file of a consumer pursuant to this section by another consumer reporting agency. (g) DUTY OF OTHER CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES TO PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION- If a consumer contacts any consumer reporting agency that is not described in section 603(p) to communicate a suspicion that the consumer has been or is about to become a victim of fraud or related crime, including identity theft, the agency shall provide information to the consumer on how to contact the Commission and the consumer reporting agencies described in section 603(p) to obtain more detailed information and request alerts under this section. (h) LIMITATIONS ON USE OF INFORMATION FOR CREDIT EXTENSIONS- (1) REQUIREMENTS FOR INITIAL AND ACTIVE DUTY ALERTS- (A) NOTIFICATION- Each initial fraud alert and active duty alert under this section shall include information that notifies all prospective users of a consumer report on the consumer to which the alert relates that the consumer does not authorize the establishment of any new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issuance of an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, except in accordance with subparagraph (B). (B) LIMITATION ON USERS- (i) IN GENERAL- No prospective user of a consumer report that includes an initial fraud alert or an active duty alert in accordance with this section may establish a new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issue an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or grant any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, unless the user utilizes reasonable policies and procedures to form a reasonable belief that the user knows the identity of the person making the request. (ii) VERIFICATION- If a consumer requesting the alert has specified a telephone number to be used for identity verification purposes, before authorizing any new credit plan or extension described in clause (i) in the name of such consumer, a user of such consumer report shall contact the consumer using that telephone number or take reasonable steps to verify the consumer’s identity and confirm that the application for a new credit plan is not the result of identity theft. (2) REQUIREMENTS FOR EXTENDED ALERTS- (A) NOTIFICATION- Each extended alert under this section shall include information that provides all prospective users of a consumer report relating to a consumer with– (i) notification that the consumer does not authorize the establishment of any new credit plan or extension of credit described in clause (i), other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issuance of an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, except in accordance with subparagraph (B); and (ii) a telephone number or other reasonable contact method designated by the consumer. (B) LIMITATION ON USERS- No prospective user of a consumer report or of a credit score generated using the information in the file of a consumer that includes an extended fraud alert in accordance with this section may establish a new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issue an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, unless the user contacts the consumer in person or using the contact method described in subparagraph (A)(ii) to confirm that the application for a new credit plan or increase in credit limit, or request for an additional card is not the result of identity theft.’. (b) RULEMAKING- The Commission shall prescribe regulations to define what constitutes appropriate proof of identity for purposes of sections 605A, 605B, and 609(a)(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by this Act.

SEC. 113. TRUNCATION OF CREDIT CARD AND DEBIT CARD ACCOUNT NUMBERS.

Section 605 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681c) is amended by adding at the end the following: (g) TRUNCATION OF CREDIT CARD AND DEBIT CARD NUMBERS- (1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, no person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business shall print more than the last 5 digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction. (2) LIMITATION- This subsection shall apply only to receipts that are electronically printed, and shall not apply to transactions in which the sole means of recording a credit card or debit card account number is by handwriting or by an imprint or copy of the card. (3) EFFECTIVE DATE- This subsection shall become effective– (A) 3 years after the date of enactment of this subsection, with respect to any cash register or other machine or device that electronically prints receipts for credit card or debit card transactions that is in use before January 1, 2005; and (B) 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, with respect to any cash register or other machine or device that electronically prints receipts for credit card or debit card transactions that is first put into use on or after January 1, 2005.’.

SEC. 114. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROCEDURES FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF POSSIBLE INSTANCES OF IDENTITY THEFT.

Section 615 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681m) is amended– (1) by striking `(e)’ at the end; and (2) by adding at the end the following: (e) RED FLAG GUIDELINES AND REGULATIONS REQUIRED- (1) GUIDELINES- The Federal banking agencies, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Commission shall jointly, with respect to the entities that are subject to their respective enforcement authority under section 621– (A) establish and maintain guidelines for use by each financial institution and each creditor regarding identity theft with respect to account holders at, or customers of, such entities, and update such guidelines as often as necessary; (B) prescribe regulations requiring each financial institution and each creditor to establish reasonable policies and procedures for implementing the guidelines established pursuant to subparagraph (A), to identify possible risks to account holders or customers or to the safety and soundness of the institution or customers; and (C) prescribe regulations applicable to card issuers to ensure that, if a card issuer receives notification of a change of address for an existing account, and within a short period of time (during at least the first 30 days after such notification is received) receives a request for an additional or replacement card for the same account, the card issuer may not issue the additional or replacement card, unless the card issuer, in accordance with reasonable policies and procedures– (i) notifies the cardholder of the request at the former address of the cardholder and provides to the cardholder a means of promptly reporting incorrect address changes; (ii) notifies the cardholder of the request by such other means of communication as the cardholder and the card issuer previously agreed to; or (iii) uses other means of assessing the validity of the change of address, in accordance with reasonable policies and procedures established by the card issuer in accordance with the regulations prescribed under subparagraph (B). (2) CRITERIA- (A) IN GENERAL- In developing the guidelines required by paragraph (1)(A), the agencies described in paragraph (1) shall identify patterns, practices, and specific forms of activity that indicate the possible existence of identity theft. (B) INACTIVE ACCOUNTS- In developing the guidelines required by paragraph (1)(A), the agencies described in paragraph (1) shall consider including reasonable guidelines providing that when a transaction occurs with respect to a credit or deposit account that has been inactive for more than 2 years, the creditor or financial institution shall follow reasonable policies and procedures that provide for notice to be given to a consumer in a manner reasonably designed to reduce the likelihood of identity theft with respect to such account. (3) CONSISTENCY WITH VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS- Guidelines established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not be inconsistent with the policies and procedures required under section 5318(l) of title 31, United States Code.’.

SEC. 115. AUTHORITY TO TRUNCATE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS.

Section 609(a)(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681g(a)(1)) is amended by striking `except that nothing’ and inserting the following: `except that– (A) if the consumer to whom the file relates requests that the first 5 digits of the social security number (or similar identification number) of the consumer not be included in the disclosure and the consumer reporting agency has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester, the consumer reporting agency shall so truncate such number in such disclosure; and (B) nothing’. Subtitle B–Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History

SEC. 151. SUMMARY OF RIGHTS OF IDENTITY THEFT VICTIMS.

Subtitle B–Protection and Restoration of Identity Theft Victim Credit History (a) IN GENERAL- (1) SUMMARY- Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681g) is amended by adding at the end the following: (d) SUMMARY OF RIGHTS OF IDENTITY THEFT VICTIMS- (1) IN GENERAL- The Commission, in consultation with the Federal banking agencies and the National Credit Union Administration, shall prepare a model summary of the rights of consumers under this title with respect to the procedures for remedying the effects of fraud or identity theft involving credit, an electronic fund transfer, or an account or transaction at or with a financial institution or other creditor. (2) SUMMARY OF RIGHTS AND CONTACT INFORMATION- Beginning 60 days after the date on which the model summary of rights is prescribed in final form by the Commission pursuant to paragraph (1), if any consumer contacts a consumer reporting agency and expresses a belief that the consumer is a victim of fraud or identity theft involving credit, an electronic fund transfer, or an account or transaction at or with a financial institution or other creditor, the consumer reporting agency shall, in addition to any other action that the agency may take, provide the consumer with a summary of rights that contains all of the information required by the Commission under paragraph (1), and information on how to contact the Commission to obtain more detailed information. (e) INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO VICTIMS- (1) IN GENERAL- For the purpose of documenting fraudulent transactions resulting from identity theft, not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of a request from a victim in accordance with paragraph (3), and subject to verification of the identity of the victim and the claim of identity theft in accordance with paragraph (2), a business entity that has provided credit to, provided for consideration products, goods, or services to, accepted payment from, or otherwise entered into a commercial transaction for consideration with, a person who has allegedly made unauthorized use of the means of identification of the victim, shall provide a copy of application and business transaction records in the control of the business entity, whether maintained by the business entity or by another person on behalf of the business entity, evidencing any transaction alleged to be a result of identity theft to– (A) the victim; (B) any Federal, State, or local government law enforcement agency or officer specified by the victim in such a request; or (C) any law enforcement agency investigating the identity theft and authorized by the victim to take receipt of records provided under this subsection. (2) VERIFICATION OF IDENTITY AND CLAIM- Before a business entity provides any information under paragraph (1), unless the business entity, at its discretion, otherwise has a high degree of confidence that it knows the identity of the victim making a request under paragraph (1), the victim shall provide to the business entity– (A) as proof of positive identification of the victim, at the election of the business entity– (i) the presentation of a government-issued identification card; (ii) personally identifying information of the same type as was provided to the business entity by the unauthorized person; or (iii) personally identifying information that the business entity typically requests from new applicants or for new transactions, at the time of the victim’s request for information, including any documentation described in clauses (i) and (ii); and (B) as proof of a claim of identity theft, at the election of the business entity– (i) a copy of a police report evidencing the claim of the victim of identity theft; and (ii) a properly completed– (I) copy of a standardized affidavit of identity theft developed and made available by the Commission; or (II) an affidavit of fact that is acceptable to the business entity for that purpose. (3) PROCEDURES- The request of a victim under paragraph (1) shall– (A) be in writing; (B) be mailed to an address specified by the business entity, if any; and (C) if asked by the business entity, include relevant information about any transaction alleged to be a result of identity theft to facilitate compliance with this section including– (i) if known by the victim (or if readily obtainable by the victim), the date of the application or transaction; and (ii) if known by the victim (or if readily obtainable by the victim), any other identifying information such as an account or transaction number. (4) NO CHARGE TO VICTIM- Information required to be provided under paragraph (1) shall be so provided without charge. (5) AUTHORITY TO DECLINE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION- A business entity may decline to provide information under paragraph (1) if, in the exercise of good faith, the business entity determines that– (A) this subsection does not require disclosure of the information; (B) after reviewing the information provided pursuant to paragraph (2), the business entity does not have a high degree of confidence in knowing the true identity of the individual requesting the information; (C) the request for the information is based on a misrepresentation of fact by the individual requesting the information relevant to the request for information; or (D) the information requested is Internet navigational data or similar information about a person’s visit to a website or online service. (6) LIMITATION ON LIABILITY- Except as provided in section 621, sections 616 and 617 do not apply to any violation of this subsection. (7) LIMITATION ON CIVIL LIABILITY- No business entity may be held civilly liable under any provision of Federal, State, or other law for disclosure, made in good faith pursuant to this subsection. (8) NO NEW RECORDKEEPING OBLIGATION- Nothing in this subsection creates an obligation on the part of a business entity to obtain, retain, or maintain information or records that are not otherwise required to be obtained, retained, or maintained in the ordinary course of its business or under other applicable law. (9) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- (A) IN GENERAL- No provision of subtitle A of title V of Public Law 106-102, prohibiting the disclosure of financial information by a business entity to third parties shall be used to deny disclosure of information to the victim under this subsection. (B) LIMITATION- Except as provided in subparagraph (A), nothing in this subsection permits a business entity to disclose information, including information to law enforcement under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (1), that the business entity is otherwise prohibited from disclosing under any other applicable provision of Federal or State law. (10) AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE- In any civil action brought to enforce this subsection, it is an affirmative defense (which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence) for a business entity to file an affidavit or answer stating that– (A) the business entity has made a reasonably diligent search of its available business records; and (B) the records requested under this subsection do not exist or are not reasonably available. (11) DEFINITION OF VICTIM- For purposes of this subsection, the term `victim’ means a consumer whose means of identification or financial information has been used or transferred (or has been alleged to have been used or transferred) without the authority of that consumer, with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, an identity theft or a similar crime. (12) EFFECTIVE DATE- This subsection shall become effective 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection. (13) EFFECTIVENESS STUDY- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to Congress assessing the effectiveness of this provision.’. (2) RELATION TO STATE LAWS- Section 625(b)(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681t(b)(1), as so redesignated) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: (G) section 609(e), relating to information available to victims under section 609(e);’. (b) PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall establish and implement a media and distribution campaign to teach the public how to prevent identity theft. Such campaign shall include existing Commission education materials, as well as radio, television, and print public service announcements, video cassettes, interactive digital video discs (DVD’s) or compact audio discs (CD’s), and Internet resources.

SEC. 152. BLOCKING OF INFORMATION RESULTING FROM IDENTITY THEFT.

(a) IN GENERAL- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 605A, as added by this Act, the following: Sec. 605B. Block of information resulting from identity theft (a) BLOCK- Except as otherwise provided in this section, a consumer reporting agency shall block the reporting of any information in the file of a consumer that the consumer identifies as information that resulted from an alleged identity theft, not later than 4 business days after the date of receipt by such agency of– (1) appropriate proof of the identity of the consumer; (2) a copy of an identity theft report; (3) the identification of such information by the consumer; and (4) a statement by the consumer that the information is not information relating to any transaction by the consumer. (b) NOTIFICATION- A consumer reporting agency shall promptly notify the furnisher of information identified by the consumer under subsection (a)– (1) that the information may be a result of identity theft; (2) that an identity theft report has been filed; (3) that a block has been requested under this section; and (4) of the effective dates of the block. (c) AUTHORITY TO DECLINE OR RESCIND- (1) IN GENERAL- A consumer reporting agency may decline to block, or may rescind any block, of information relating to a consumer under this section, if the consumer reporting agency reasonably determines that– (A) the information was blocked in error or a block was requested by the consumer in error; (B) the information was blocked, or a block was requested by the consumer, on the basis of a material misrepresentation of fact by the consumer relevant to the request to block; or (C) the consumer obtained possession of goods, services, or money as a result of the blocked transaction or transactions. (2) NOTIFICATION TO CONSUMER- If a block of information is declined or rescinded under this subsection, the affected consumer shall be notified promptly, in the same manner as consumers are notified of the reinsertion of information under section 611(a)(5)(B). (3) SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOCK- For purposes of this subsection, if a consumer reporting agency rescinds a block, the presence of information in the file of a consumer prior to the blocking of such information is not evidence of whether the consumer knew or should have known that the consumer obtained possession of any goods, services, or money as a result of the block. (d) EXCEPTION FOR RESELLERS- (1) NO RESELLER FILE- This section shall not apply to a consumer reporting agency, if the consumer reporting agency– (A) is a reseller; (B) is not, at the time of the request of the consumer under subsection (a), otherwise furnishing or reselling a consumer report concerning the information identified by the consumer; and (C) informs the consumer, by any means, that the consumer may report the identity theft to the Commission to obtain consumer information regarding identity theft. (2) RESELLER WITH FILE- The sole obligation of the consumer reporting agency under this section, with regard to any request of a consumer under this section, shall be to block the consumer report maintained by the consumer reporting agency from any subsequent use, if– (A) the consumer, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a), identifies, to a consumer reporting agency, information in the file of the consumer that resulted from identity theft; and (B) the consumer reporting agency is a reseller of the identified information. (3) NOTICE- In carrying out its obligation under paragraph (2), the reseller shall promptly provide a notice to the consumer of the decision to block the file. Such notice shall contain the name, address, and telephone number of each consumer reporting agency from which the consumer information was obtained for resale. (e) EXCEPTION FOR VERIFICATION COMPANIES- The provisions of this section do not apply to a check services company, acting as such, which issues authorizations for the purpose of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic fund transfers, or similar methods of payments, except that, beginning 4 business days after receipt of information described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a), a check services company shall not report to a national consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p), any information identified in the subject identity theft report as resulting from identity theft. (f) ACCESS TO BLOCKED INFORMATION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES- No provision of this section shall be construed as requiring a consumer reporting agency to prevent a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency from accessing blocked information in a consumer file to which the agency could otherwise obtain access under this title.’. (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections for the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 605 the following new items: 605A. Identity theft prevention; fraud alerts and active duty alerts. 605B. Block of information resulting from identity theft.’.

SEC. 153. COORDINATION OF IDENTITY THEFT COMPLAINT INVESTIGATIONS.

Section 621 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681s) is amended by adding at the end the following: (f) COORDINATION OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT INVESTIGATIONS- (1) IN GENERAL- Each consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) shall develop and maintain procedures for the referral to each other such agency of any consumer complaint received by the agency alleging identity theft, or requesting a fraud alert under section 605A or a block under section 605B. (2) MODEL FORM AND PROCEDURE FOR REPORTING IDENTITY THEFT- The Commission, in consultation with the Federal banking agencies and the National Credit Union Administration, shall develop a model form and model procedures to be used by consumers who are victims of identity theft for contacting and informing creditors and consumer reporting agencies of the fraud. (3) ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS- Each consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) shall submit an annual summary report to the Commission on consumer complaints received by the agency on identity theft or fraud alerts.’.

SEC. 154. PREVENTION OF REPOLLUTION OF CONSUMER REPORTS.

(a) PREVENTION OF REINSERTION OF ERRONEOUS INFORMATION- Section 623(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681s-2(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following: (6) DUTIES OF FURNISHERS UPON NOTICE OF IDENTITY THEFT-RELATED INFORMATION- (A) REASONABLE PROCEDURES- A person that furnishes information to any consumer reporting agency shall have in place reasonable procedures to respond to any notification that it receives from a consumer reporting agency under section 605B relating to information resulting from identity theft, to prevent that person from refurnishing such blocked information. (B) INFORMATION ALLEGED TO RESULT FROM IDENTITY THEFT- If a consumer submits an identity theft report to a person who furnishes information to a consumer reporting agency at the address specified by that person for receiving such reports stating that information maintained by such person that purports to relate to the consumer resulted from identity theft, the person may not furnish such information that purports to relate to the consumer to any consumer reporting agency, unless the person subsequently knows or is informed by the consumer that the information is correct.’. (b) PROHIBITION ON SALE OR TRANSFER OF DEBT CAUSED BY IDENTITY THEFT- Section 615 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681m), as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following: (f) PROHIBITION ON SALE OR TRANSFER OF DEBT CAUSED BY IDENTITY THEFT- (1) IN GENERAL- No person shall sell, transfer for consideration, or place for collection a debt that such person has been notified under section 605B has resulted from identity theft. (2) APPLICABILITY- The prohibitions of this subsection shall apply to all persons collecting a debt described in paragraph (1) after the date of a notification under paragraph (1). (3) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit– (A) the repurchase of a debt in any case in which the assignee of the debt requires such repurchase because the debt has resulted from identity theft; (B) the securitization of a debt or the pledging of a portfolio of debt as collateral in connection with a borrowing; or (C) the transfer of debt as a result of a merger, acquisition, purchase and assumption transaction, or transfer of substantially all of the assets of an entity.’.

SEC. 155. NOTICE BY DEBT COLLECTORS WITH RESPECT TO FRAUDULENT INFORMATION.

Section 615 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681m), as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following: (g) DEBT COLLECTOR COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING IDENTITY THEFT- If a person acting as a debt collector (as that term is defined in title VIII) on behalf of a third party that is a creditor or other user of a consumer report is notified that any information relating to a debt that the person is attempting to collect may be fraudulent or may be the result of identity theft, that person shall– (1) notify the third party that the information may be fraudulent or may be the result of identity theft; and (2) upon request of the consumer to whom the debt purportedly relates, provide to the consumer all information to which the consumer would otherwise be entitled if the consumer were not a victim of identity theft, but wished to dispute the debt under provisions of law applicable to that person.’.

SEC. 156. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

Section 618 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681p) is amended to read as follows: Sec. 618. Jurisdiction of courts; limitation of actions An action to enforce any liability created under this title may be brought in any appropriate United States district court, without regard to the amount in controversy, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, not later than the earlier of– (1) 2 years after the date of discovery by the plaintiff of the violation that is the basis for such liability; or (2) 5 years after the date on which the violation that is the basis for such liability occurs.’.

SEC. 157. STUDY ON THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO COMBAT IDENTITY THEFT.

(a) STUDY REQUIRED- The Secretary of the Treasury shall conduct a study of the use of biometrics and other similar technologies to reduce the incidence and costs to society of identity theft by providing convincing evidence of who actually performed a given financial transaction. (b) CONSULTATION- The Secretary of the Treasury shall consult with Federal banking agencies, the Commission, and representatives of financial institutions, consumer reporting agencies, Federal, State, and local government agencies that issue official forms or means of identification, State prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, the biometric industry, and the general public in formulating and conducting the study required by subsection (a). (c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of the Treasury for fiscal year 2004, such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. (d) REPORT REQUIRED- Before the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress containing the findings and conclusions of the study required under subsection (a), together with such recommendations for legislative or administrative actions as may be appropriate.

TITLE II–IMPROVEMENTS IN USE OF AND CONSUMER ACCESS TO CREDIT INFORMATION

Sec. 211. Free consumer reports. Sec. 212. Disclosure of credit scores. Sec. 213. Enhanced disclosure of the means available to opt out of prescreened lists. Sec. 214. Affiliate sharing. Sec. 215. Study of effects of credit scores and credit-based insurance scores on availability and affordability of financial products. Sec. 216. Disposal of consumer report information and records. Sec. 217. Requirement to disclose communications to a consumer reporting agency.

SEC. 211. FREE CONSUMER REPORTS.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 612 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681j) is amended– (1) by redesignating subsection (a) as subsection (f), and transferring it to the end of the section; (2) by inserting before subsection (b) the following: (a) FREE ANNUAL DISCLOSURE- (1) NATIONWIDE CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES- (A) IN GENERAL- All consumer reporting agencies described in subsections (p) and (w) of section 603 shall make all disclosures pursuant to section 609 once during any 12-month period upon request of the consumer and without charge to the consumer. (B) CENTRALIZED SOURCE- Subparagraph (A) shall apply with respect to a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) only if the request from the consumer is made using the centralized source established for such purpose in accordance with section 211(c) of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. (C) NATIONWIDE SPECIALTY CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY- (i) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall prescribe regulations applicable to each consumer reporting agency described in section 603(w) to require the establishment of a streamlined process for consumers to request consumer reports under subparagraph (A), which shall include, at a minimum, the establishment by each such agency of a toll-free telephone number for such requests. (ii) CONSIDERATIONS- In prescribing regulations under clause (i), the Commission shall consider– (I) the significant demands that may be placed on consumer reporting agencies in providing such consumer reports; (II) appropriate means to ensure that consumer reporting agencies can satisfactorily meet those demands, including the efficacy of a system of staggering the availability to consumers of such consumer reports; and (III) the ease by which consumers should be able to contact consumer reporting agencies with respect to access to such consumer reports. (iii) DATE OF ISSUANCE- The Commission shall issue the regulations required by this subparagraph in final form not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. (iv) CONSIDERATION OF ABILITY TO COMPLY- The regulations of the Commission under this subparagraph shall establish an effective date by which each nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency (as defined in section 603(w)) shall be required to comply with subsection (a), which effective date– (I) shall be established after consideration of the ability of each nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency to comply with subsection (a); and (II) shall be not later than 6 months after the date on which such regulations are issued in final form (or such additional period not to exceed 3 months, as the Commission determines appropriate). (2) TIMING- A consumer reporting agency shall provide a consumer report under paragraph (1) not later than 15 days after the date on which the request is received under paragraph (1). (3) REINVESTIGATIONS- Notwithstanding the time periods specified in section 611(a)(1), a reinvestigation under that section by a consumer reporting agency upon a request of a consumer that is made after receiving a consumer report under this subsection shall be completed not later than 45 days after the date on which the request is received. (4) EXCEPTION FOR FIRST 12 MONTHS OF OPERATION- This subsection shall not apply to a consumer reporting agency that has not been furnishing consumer reports to third parties on a continuing basis during the 12-month period preceding a request under paragraph (1), with respect to consumers residing nationwide.’; (3) by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (e); (4) by inserting before subsection (e), as redesignated, the following: (d) FREE DISCLOSURES IN CONNECTION WITH FRAUD ALERTS- Upon the request of a consumer, a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) shall make all disclosures pursuant to section 609 without charge to the consumer, as provided in subsections (a)(2) and (b)(2) of section 605A, as applicable.’; (5) in subsection (e), as redesignated, by striking `subsection (a)’ and inserting `subsection (f)’; and (6) in subsection (f), as redesignated, by striking `Except as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d), a’ and inserting `In the case of a request from a consumer other than a request that is covered by any of subsections (a) through (d), a’. (b) CIRCUMVENTION PROHIBITED- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) is amended by adding after section 628, as added by section 216 of this Act, the following new section: Sec. 629. Corporate and technological circumvention prohibited The Commission shall prescribe regulations, to become effective not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, to prevent a consumer reporting agency from circumventing or evading treatment as a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(p) for purposes of this title, including– (1) by means of a corporate reorganization or restructuring, including a merger, acquisition, dissolution, divestiture, or asset sale of a consumer reporting agency; or (2) by maintaining or merging public record and credit account information in a manner that is substantially equivalent to that described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 603(p), in the manner described in section 603(p).’. (c) SUMMARY OF RIGHTS TO OBTAIN AND DISPUTE INFORMATION IN CONSUMER REPORTS AND TO OBTAIN CREDIT SCORES- Section 609(c) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681g) is amended to read as follows: (c) SUMMARY OF RIGHTS TO OBTAIN AND DISPUTE INFORMATION IN CONSUMER REPORTS AND TO OBTAIN CREDIT SCORES- (1) COMMISSION SUMMARY OF RIGHTS REQUIRED- (A) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall prepare a model summary of the rights of consumers under this title. (B) CONTENT OF SUMMARY- The summary of rights prepared under subparagraph (A) shall include a description of– (i) the right of a consumer to obtain a copy of a consumer report under subsection (a) from each consumer reporting agency; (ii) the frequency and circumstances under which a consumer is entitled to receive a consumer report without charge under section 612; (iii) the right of a consumer to dispute information in the file of the consumer under section 611; (iv) the right of a consumer to obtain a credit score from a consumer reporting agency, and a description of how to obtain a credit score; (v) the method by which a consumer can contact, and obtain a consumer report from, a consumer reporting agency without charge, as provided in the regulations of the Commission prescribed under section 211(c) of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003; and (vi) the method by which a consumer can contact, and obtain a consumer report from, a consumer reporting agency described in section 603(w), as provided in the regulations of the Co

TITLE III–ENHANCING THE ACCURACY OF CONSUMER REPORT INFORMATION

Sec. 311. Risk-based pricing notice. Sec. 312. Procedures to enhance the accuracy and integrity of information furnished to consumer reporting agencies. Sec. 313. FTC and consumer reporting agency action concerning complaints. Sec. 314. Improved disclosure of the results of reinvestigation. Sec. 315. Reconciling addresses. Sec. 316. Notice of dispute through reseller. Sec. 317. Reasonable reinvestigation required. Sec. 318. FTC study of issues relating to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Sec. 319. FTC study of the accuracy of consumer reports.

TITLE IV–LIMITING THE USE AND SHARING OF MEDICAL INFORMATION IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Sec. 411. Protection of medical information in the financial system. Sec. 412. Confidentiality of medical contact information in consumer reports.

TITLE V–FINANCIAL LITERACY AND EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT

Sec. 511. Short title. Sec. 512. Definitions. Sec. 513. Establishment of Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Sec. 514. Duties of the Commission. Sec. 515. Powers of the Commission. Sec. 516. Commission personnel matters. Sec. 517. Studies by the Comptroller General. Sec. 518. The national public service multimedia campaign to enhance the state of financial literacy. Sec. 519. Authorization of appropriations.

TITLE VI–PROTECTING EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS

Sec. 611. Certain employee investigation communications excluded from definition of consumer report.

TITLE VII–RELATION TO STATE LAWS

Sec. 711. Relation to State laws.

TITLE VIII–MISCELLANEOUS

Sec. 811. Clerical amendments. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act– (1) the term `Board’ means the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (2) the term `Commission’, other than as used in title V, means the Federal Trade Commission; (3) the terms `consumer’, `consumer report’, `consumer reporting agency’, `creditor’, `Federal banking agencies’, and `financial institution’ have the same meanings as in section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by this Act; and (4) the term `affiliates’ means persons that are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control. SEC. 3. EFFECTIVE DATES. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act and the amendments made by this Act– (1) before the end of the 2-month period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Board and the Commission shall jointly prescribe regulations in final form establishing effective dates for each provision of this Act; and (2) the regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall establish effective dates that are as early as possible, while allowing a reasonable time for the implementation of the provisions of this Act, but in no case shall any such effective date be later than 10 months after the date of issuance of such regulations in final form.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Fair Credit Reporting Act

Sec. 1681. Congressional findings and statement of purpose

  • (a) The Congress makes the following findings:

The banking system is dependent upon fair and accurate credit reporting. Inaccurate credit reports directly impair the efficiency of the banking system, and unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system.
An elaborate mechanism has been developed for investigating and evaluating the credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, and general reputation of consumers.
Consumer reporting agencies have assumed a vital role in assembling and evaluating consumer credit and other information on consumers.
There is a need to insure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy.

  • (b) It is the purpose of this title to require that consumer reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper utilization of such information in accordance with the requirements of this title.

Sec. 1681a. Definitions; rules of construction

  • (a) Definitions and rules of construction set forth in this section are applicable for the purposes of this title.
  • (b) The term “person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or other entity.
  • (c) The term “consumer” means an individual.
  • (d) The term “consumer report” means any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for (1) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) employment purposes, or (3) other purposes authorized under section 604. The term does not include (A) any report containing information solely as to transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report; (B) any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device; or (C) any report in which a person who has been requested by a third party to make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer conveys his decision with respect to such request, if the third party advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the request was made and such person makes the disclosures to the consumer required under section 615.
  • (e) The term “investigative consumer report” means a consumer report or portion thereof in which information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom he is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. However, such information shall not include specific factual information on a consumer’s credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.
  • (f) The term “consumer reporting agency” means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility of interstate commerce for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.
  • (g) The term “file,” when used in connection with information on any consumer, means all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.
  • (h) The term “employment purposes” when used in connection with a consumer report means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.
  • (i) The term “medical information” means information or records obtained, with the consent of the individual to whom it relates, from licensed physicians or medical practitioners, hospitals, clinics, or other medical or medically related facilities.

Sec. 1681b. Permissible purposes of consumer reports

  • (1) In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.
  • (2) In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.
  • (3) To a person which it has reason to believe–
  • (A) intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or
  • (B) intends to use the information for employment purposes; or
  • (C) intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer; or
  • (D) intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant’s financial responsibility or status; or
  • (E) otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer.

Sec. 1681c. Reporting of obsolete information prohibited

  • (a) Except as authorized under subsection (b), no consumer reporting agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following items of information:
  • (1) cases under title 11 of the United States Code or under the Bankruptcy Act that, from the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the case may be, antedate the report by more than 10 years.
  • (2) Suits and judgments which, from date of entry, antedate the report by more than seven years or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is the longer period.
  • (3) Paid tax liens which, from date of payment, antedate the report by more than seven years.
  • (4) Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which antedate the report by more than seven years.
  • (5) Records of arrest, indictment, or conviction of crime which, from date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years.
  • (6) Any other adverse item of information which antedates the report by more than seven years.
  • (b) The provisions of subsection (a) are not applicable in the case of any consumer credit report to be used in connection with–
  • (1) a credit transaction involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a principal amount of $ 50,000 or more;
  • (2) the underwriting of life insurance involving, or which may reasonably be expected to involve, a face amount of $ 50,000 or more; or
  • (3) the employment of any individual at an annual salary which equals, or which may reasonably be expected to equal $ 20,000, or more.

Sec. 1681d. Disclosure of investigative consumer reports

  • (a) Disclosure of fact of preparation. A person may not procure or cause to be prepared an investigative consumer report on any consumer unless–
  • (1) it is clearly and accurately disclosed to the consumer that an investigative consumer report including information as to his character, general reputation, personal characteristics and mode of living, whichever are applicable, may be made, and such disclosure (A) is made in a writing mailed, or otherwise delivered, to the consumer, not later than three days after the date on which the report was first requested, and (B) includes a statement informing the consumer of his right to request the additional disclosures provided for under subsection (b) of this section; or
  • (2) the report is to be used for employment purposes for which the consumer has not specifically applied.
  • (b) Disclosure on request of nature and scope of investigation. Any person who procures or causes to be prepared an investigative consumer report on any consumer shall, upon written request made by the consumer within a reasonable period of time after the receipt by him of the disclosure required by subsection (a) (1), shall make a complete and accurate disclosure of the nature and scope of the investigation requested. This disclosure shall be made in a writing mailed, or otherwise delivered, to the consumer not later than five days after the date on which the request for such disclosure was received from the consumer or such report was first requested, whichever is the later.
  • (c) Limitation on liability upon showing of reasonable procedures for compliance with provisions. No person may be held liable for any violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this section if he shows by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the violation he maintained reasonable procedures to assure compliance with subsection (a) or (b).

Sec. 1681e. Compliance procedures

  • (a) Every consumer reporting agency shall maintain reasonable procedures designed to avoid violations of section 605 and to limit the furnishing of consumer reports to the purposes listed under section 604 . These procedures shall require that prospective users of the information identify themselves, certify the purposes for which the information is sought, and certify that the information will be used for no other purpose. Every consumer reporting agency shall make a reasonable effort to verify the identity of a new prospective user and the uses certified by such prospective user prior to furnishing such user a consumer report. No consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report to any person if it has reasonable grounds for believing that the consumer report will not be used for a purpose listed in section 604 .
  • (b) Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer report it shall follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates.

Sec. 1681f. Disclosures to governmental agencies

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 604, a consumer reporting agency may furnish identifying information respecting any consumer, limited to his name, address, former addresses, places of employment, or former places of employment, to a governmental agency.

Sec. 1681g. Disclosures to consumers

  • (a) Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request and proper identification of any consumer, clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:
  • (1) The nature and substance of all information (except medical information) in its files on the consumer at the time of the request.
  • (2) The sources of the information; except that the sources of information acquired solely for use in preparing an investigative consumer report and actually used for no other purpose need not be disclosed: Provided, That in the event an action is brought under this title, such sources shall be available to the plaintiff under appropriate discovery procedures in the court in which the action is brought.
  • (3) The recipients of any consumer report on the consumer which it has furnished–
  • (A) for employment purposes within the two-year period preceding the request, and
  • (B) for any other purpose within the six-month period preceding the request.
  • (b) The requirements of subsection (a) respecting the disclosure of sources of information and the recipients of consumer reports do not apply to information received or consumer reports furnished prior to the effective date of this title except to the extent that the matter involved is contained in the files of the consumer reporting agency on that date.

Sec. 1681h. Conditions of disclosure to consumers

  • (a) Times and notice. A consumer reporting agency shall make the disclosures required under section 609 during normal business hours and on reasonable notice.
  • (b) Identification of consumer. The disclosures required under section 609 shall be made to the consumer–
  • (1) in person if he appears in person and furnishes proper identification; or
  • (2) by telephone if he has made a written request, with proper identification, for telephone disclosure and the toll charge, if any, for the telephone call is prepaid by or charged directly to the consumer.
  • (c) Trained personnel. Any consumer reporting agency shall provide trained personnel to explain to the consumer any information furnished to him pursuant to section 609.
  • (d) Persons accompanying consumer. The consumer shall be permitted to be accompanied by one other person of his choosing, who shall furnish reasonable identification. A consumer reporting agency may require the consumer to furnish a written statement granting permission to the consumer reporting agency to discuss the consumer’s file in such person’s presence.
  • (e) Limitation of liability. Except as provided in sections 616 and 617 , no consumer may bring any action or proceeding in thenature of defamation, invasion of privacy, or negligence with respect to the reporting of information against any consumer reporting agency, any user of information, or any person who furnishes information to a consumer reporting agency, based on information disclosed pursuant to section 609, 610, or 615, except as to false information furnished with malice or willful intent to injure such consumer.

Sec. 1681i. Procedure in case of disputed accuracy

  • (a) Dispute; reinvestigation. If the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in his file is disputed by a consumer, and such dispute is directly conveyed to the consumer reporting agency by the consumer, the consumer reporting agency shall within a reasonable period of time reinvestigate and record the current status of that information unless it has reasonable grounds to believe that the dispute by the consumer is frivolous or irrelevant. If after such reinvestigation such information is found to be inaccurate or can no longer be verified, the consumer reporting agency shall promptly delete such information. The presence of contradictory information in the consumer’s file does not in and of itself constitute reasonable grounds for believing the dispute is frivolous or irrelevant.
  • (b) Statement of dispute. If the reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute, the consumer may file a brief statement setting forth the nature of the dispute. The consumer reporting agency may limit such statements to not more than one hundred words if it provides the consumer with assistance in writing a clear summary of the dispute.
  • (c) Notification of consumer dispute in subsequent consumer reports. Whenever a statement of a dispute is filed, unless there is reasonable grounds to believe that it is frivolous or irrelevant, the consumer reporting agency shall, in any subsequent consumer report containing the information in question, clearly note that it is disputed by the consumer and provide either the consumer’s statement or a clear and accurate codification or summary thereof.
  • (d) Notification of deletion of disputed information. Following any deletion of information which is found to be inaccurate or whose accuracy can no longer be verified or any notation as to disputed information, the consumer reporting agency shall, at the request of the consumer, furnish notification that the port for any item has been deleted or the statement, codification or summary pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) to any person specifically designated by the consumer who has within two years prior thereto received a consumer report for employment purposes, or within six months prior thereto received a consumer re other purpose, which contained the deleted or disputed information. The consumer reporting agency shall clearly and conspicuously disclose to the consumer his rights to make such a request. Such disclosure shall be made at or prior to the time the information is deleted or the consumer’s statement regarding the disputed information is received.

Sec. 1681j. Charges for disclosures

A consumer reporting agency shall make all disclosures pursuant to section 609 and furnish all consumer reports pursuant to section 611(d) without charge to the consumer if, within thirty days after receipt by such consumer of a notification pursuant to section 615 or notification from a debt collection agency affiliated with such consumer reporting agency stating that the consumer’s credit rating may be or has been adversely affected, the consumer makes a request under section 609 or 611(d) . Otherwise, the consumer reporting agency may impose a reasonable charge on the consumer for making disclosure to such consumer pursuant to section 609 , the charge for which shall be indicated to the consumer prior to making disclosure; and for furnishing notifications, statements, summaries, or codifications to person designated by the consumer pursuant to section 611(d), the charge for which shall be indicated to the consumer prior to furnishing such information and shall not exceed the charge that the consumer reporting agency would impose on each designated recipient for a consumer report except that no charge may be made for notifying such persons of the deletion of information which is found to be inaccurate or which can no longer be verified.

Sec. 1681k. Public record information for employment purposes

A consumer reporting agency which furnishes a consumer report for employment purposes and which for that purpose compiles and reports items of information on consumers which are matters of public record and are likely to have an adverse effect upon a consumer’s ability to obtain employment shall–

  • (1) at the time such public record information is reported to the user of such consumer report, notify the consumer of the fact that public record information is being reported by the consumer reporting agency, together with the name and address of the person to whom such information is being reported; or
  • (2) maintain strict procedures designed to insure that whenever public record information which is likely to have an adverse effect on a consumer’s ability to obtain employment is reported it is complete and up to date. For purposes of this paragraph, items of public record relating to arrests, indictments, convictions, suits, tax liens, and outstanding judgments shall be considered up to date if the current public record status of the item at the time of the report is reported.

Sec. 1681l. Restrictions on investigative consumer reports

Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares an investigative consumer report, no adverse information in the consumer report (other than information which is a matter of public record) may be included in a subsequent consumer report unless such adverse information has been verified in the process of making such subsequent consumer report, or the adverse information was received within the three-month period preceding the date the subsequent report is furnished.

Sec. 1681m. Requirements on users of consumer reports

  • (a) Adverse action based on reports of consumer reporting agencies. Whenever credit or insurance for personal, family, or household purposes, or employment involving a consumer is denied or the charge for such credit or insurance is increased either wholly or partly because of information contained in a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency, the user of the consumer report shall so advise the consumer against whom such adverse action has been taken and supply the name and address of the consumer reporting agency making the report.
  • (b) Adverse action based on reports of persons other than consumer reporting agencies. Whenever credit for personal, family, or household purposes involving a consumer is denied or the charge for such credit is increased either wholly or partly because of information obtained from a person other than a consumer reporting agency bearing upon the consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living, the user of such information shall, within a reasonable period of time, upon the consumer’s written request for the reasons for such adverse action received within sixty days after learning of such adverse action, disclose the nature of the information to the consumer. The user of such information shall clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer his right to make such written request at the time such adverse action is communicated to the consumer.
  • (c) Reasonable procedures to assure compliance. No person shall be held liable for any violation of this section if he shows by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the alleged violation he maintained reasonable procedures to assure compliance with the provisions of subsections (a) and (b).

Sec. 1681n. Civil liability for willful noncompliance

Any consumer reporting agency or user of information which willfully fails to comply with any requirement imposed under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in an amount equal to the sum of–

  • (1) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure;
  • (2) such amount of punitive damages as the court may allow; and
  • (3) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court.

Sec. 1681o. Civil liability for negligent noncompliance

Any consumer reporting agency or user of information which is negligent in failing to comply with any requirement imposed under this title with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer in an amount equal to the sum of–
(1) any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure;

(2) in the case of any successful action to enforce any liability under this section, the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court.

Sec. 1681p. Jurisdiction of courts; limitation of actions

An action to enforce any liability created under this title may be brought in any appropriate United States district court without regard to the amount in controversy, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, within two years from the date on which the liability arises, except that where a defendant has materially and willfully misrepresented any information required under this title to be disclosed to an individual and the information so misrepresented is material to the establishment of the defendant’s liability to that individual under this title, the action may be brought at any time within two years after discovery by the individual of the misrepresentation.

Sec. 1681q. Obtaining information under false pretenses

Any person who knowingly and willfully obtains information on a consumer from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Sec. 1681r. Unauthorized disclosures by officers or employees

Any officer or employee of a consumer reporting agency who knowingly and willfully provides information concerning an individual from the agency’s files to a person not authorized to receive that information shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Sec. 1681s. Administrative enforcement

  • (a) Federal Trade Commission; powers. Compliance with the requirements imposed under this title shall be enforced under the Federal Trade Commission Act by the Federal Trade Commission with respect to consumer reporting agencies and all other persons subject thereto, except to the extent that enforcement of the requirements imposed under this title is specifically committed to some other government agency under subsection (b) hereof. For the purpose of the exercise by the Federal Trade Commission of its functions and powers under the Federal Trade Commission Act, a violation of any requirement or prohibition imposed under this title shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in commerce in violation of section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act and shall be subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission under section 5(b) thereof with respect to any consumer reporting agency or person subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to this subsection, irrespective of whether that person is engaged in commerce or meets any other jurisdictional tests in the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Federal Trade Commission shall have such procedural, investigative, and enforcement powers, including the power to issue procedural rules in enforcing compliance with the requirements imposed under this title and to require the filing of reports, the production of documents, and the appearance of witnesses as though the applicable terms and conditions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were part of this title. Any person violating any of the provisions of this title shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act as though the applicable terms and provisions thereof were part of this title.
  • (b) Other administrative bodies. Compliance with the requirements imposed under this title with respect to consumer reporting agencies and persons who use consumer reports from such agencies shall be enforced under–
  • (1) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, in the case of–
  • (A) national banks, and Federal branches and Federal agencies of foreign banks, by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
  • (B) member banks of the Federal Reserve System (other than national banks), branches and agencies of foreign banks (other than Federal branches, Federal agencies, and insured State branches of foreign banks), commercial lending companies owned or controlled by foreign banks, and organizations operating under section 25 or 25(a)of the Federal Reserve Act , by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and
  • (C) banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (other than members of the Federal Reserve System) and insured State branches of foreign banks, by the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
  • (2) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, by the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, in the case of a savings association the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
  • (3) the Federal Credit Union Act, by the Administrator of the National Credit Union Administration with respect to any Federal credit union;
  • (4) the Acts to regulate commerce, by the Interstate Commerce Commission with respect to any common carrier subject to those Acts;
  • (5) the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, by the Secretary of Transportation with respect to any air carrier or foreign air carrier subject to that Act ; and
  • (6) the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921(except as provided in section 406 of that Act), by the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to any activities subject to that Act.
  • The terms used in paragraph (1) that are not defined in this title or otherwise defined in section 3(s) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(s)) shall have the meaning given to them in section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3101).
  • (c) Enforcement under other authority. For the purpose of the exercise by any agency referred to in subsection (b) of its powers under any Act referred to in that subsection, a violation of any requirement imposed under this title shall be deemed to be a violation of a requirement imposed under that Act. In addition to its powers under any provision of law specifically referred to in subsection (b), each of the agencies referred to in that subsection may exercise, for the purpose of enforcing compliance with any requirement imposed under this title any other authority conferred on it by law.

Sec. 1681t. Relation to State laws

This title does not annul, alter, affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this title from complying with the laws of any State with respect to the collection, distribution, or use of any information on consumers, except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with any provision of this title, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency.

Fair Debt Collection Practice Act

Fair Debt Collection Practice Act

Section 801 Short Title

This title may be cited as the “Fair Debt Collection Practice Act.”

Section 802 Findings and Purpose

(a) There is an abundant evidence of the user’s abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collectors. Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to martial instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of privacy. (b) Existing laws and procedures for redressing these inquiries are inadequate to protect consumers. (c) Means other than misrepresentation or other abusive debt collection practices are available for the effective collection of debts. (d) Abusive debt collection practices are carried on to a substantial extent in interstate commerce and through means and instrumentalities of such commerce. Even where abusive debt collection practices are purely intrastate in character, they nevertheless directly affect interstate commerce. (e) It is the purpose of this title to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors, to insure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to promote consistent State action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.

Section 803 Definitions

As used in this title- (1) The term “Commission” means the Federal Trade Commission. (2) The term “communication” means the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium. (3) The term “consumer” means any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt. (4) The term “creditor” means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but such an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another. (5) The term “debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment. (6) The term “debt collector” means any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails on any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (G) of the last sentence of this paragraph, the term includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting his own debts, uses any name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. For the purpose of section 808(G), such term also includes any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails on any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement for security interest. The term does not include- (A) any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor; (B) any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of who are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for the persons to whom it is to related or affiliated and if the principal business of such person is not the collection of debts; (C) any officer or employee of the United States or any State to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of his official duties; (D) any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt; (E) any nonprofit organization which, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; (F) any attorney-at-law collecting a debt as an attorney on behalf of and in the name of a client; and (G) any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent such activity (I) is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement; (ii) concerns a debt which was originated by such a person; (iii) concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or (iv) concerns a debt obtained by such a person as a secured party in commercial credit transaction involving the creditor. (7) The term “location information” means a consumer’s place of abode and his telephone number at such place, or his place of employment (8) The term “State” means any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing.

Section 804 Acquisition of Location Information

Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall – (1) indemnify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer; (2) not state that such consumer owes any debts; (3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information; (4) not communicate by postcard; (5) not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection of a debt; and (6) after the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to communicate with the debt collector.

Section 805 Communication with Debt Collection

(a) Communication with the consumer generally, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer with the collection for any debt- (1) At any unusual item or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge or circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8am and before 9pm, local time at the consumer’s location; (2) if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain such attorney’s address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer; or (3) at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication. (b) Communication with third parties. Except as provided in section 804, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any other person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector. (c) Ceasing communication. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except- (1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further efforts are being terminated; (2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specific remedy. (d) For the purpose of this selection, the term “consumer” includes the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor), guardian, executor, or administrator.

Section 806 Harassment or Abuse

A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of the section: (1) The use or threat of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person. (2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or the reader. (3) The publication of a list of customers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 803(f) or 804(3) of this Act. (4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt. (5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging in any telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number. (6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure to the caller’s identity.

Section 807 False of Misleading Representation

A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section: (1) The false representation or implication that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof. (2) The false representation of- (A) the character amount, or legal status of any debt, or (B) any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of debt. (3) The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney. (4) The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt with result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action. (5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken. (6) The false representation or implication that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to- (A) lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or (B) become subject to any practices prohibited by this title (7) The false representation or implication that the consumer committed any crime or any conduct in order to disgrace the consumer. (8) Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed. (9) The use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which create a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval. (10) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect, or attempt to collect, any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer. (11) Except as otherwise provided for communication to acquire location information under section 804, failure to disclose clearly in all communications made to collect a debt or to obtain information about a consumer, that debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose. (12) The false representation or implication that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value. (13) The false representation or implication the documents are legal process. (14) The use of any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector’s business, company, or any other organization. (15) The false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer. (16) The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency as defined by section 603(f) of this Act.

Section 808 Unfair Practices

A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of the section: (1) The collection of any amount including any interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law. (2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of a check or other payment instrument postdated by more than five days unless such person is notified in writing of the debt collector’s intent to deposit such a check or instrument not more than ten nor less than three business days prior to such deposit. (3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution. (4) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument prior to the date on such check or instrument. (5) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by the concealment of the true purpose of the communication. Such charges include, but are no limited to, collect telephone calls or telegram fees. (6) Talking or threatening to take any non-judicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of the property if- (A) there is no present right to the property claimed as collateral through an enforceable security interest; (B) there is no present limitation to take possession of the property; or (C) The property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement. (7) Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by postcard. (8) Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is the debt collection business.

Section 809 Validation of Debts

(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication, or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing- (1) the amount of the debt; (2) the name of the creditor to whom it is owed; (3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector. (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer by debt collector; and (5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. (b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification or judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, is mailed by the consumer by the debt collector. (c) The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.

Section 810 Multiple Debts

If any consumer owes multiple debts and makes any single payment to any debt collector with respect to such debts, such debt collector may not apply such payment to any debt which is disputed by the consumer, and, where applicable, shall not apply such payment in accordance with the consumer’s directions.

Section 811 Legal Actions by Debt Collectors

(a) Any debt collector who brings any legal action on a debt against any consumer shall- (1) in case of any action to enforce an interest in real property securing the consumer’s obligation, bring such action only in a judicial district or similar legal entity in which such real property is located; or (2) in case of an action not described in paragraph (1), bring such action only in a judicial district or similar length entity- (A) in which such consumer signed the contract sued upon; or (B) in which such consumer resides at the commencement of the action. (b) Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the bringing of legal actions by debt collectors.

Section 812 Furnishing Certain Deceptive Forms

(a) It is unlawful to design, compile, and furnish any form knowing that such form would be used to create false belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor of such consumer is participating in the collection of or in an attempt to collect a debt such consumer allegedly owes such creditor, when the fact is such person is not so participating. (b) Any person who violated this section shall be liable to the same extent and in the same manner as a debt collector is liable under section 813 for failure to comply with a provision of this title.

How Credit Reports Works

How Credit Reports Works

Build My Scores utilizes a multiple phase audit process to have the inaccurate items removed from your credit reports. There are Federal and State laws in place to protect the consumer from inaccurate and unverifiable credit reporting. We assist you in enforcing these laws by implementing our strategy.

Credit Repair Services

  1. Thorough research and investigation of credit and collection agencies information, inquires, public records, and source of information.
  2. Carefully audit the Credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
  3. Reinvestigate the credit bureaus and ask for method of their investigation.
  4. Validation of Debt Audits, demanding creditors/collection companies produce original documentation.
  5. Revised Validation of Debt to the collection agencies as needed.
  6. Offer of Performance Audits to the collection agencies.
  7. Omission by Silence packets back to Bureaus supplying all audits to the collection agencies/ creditors and failure to comply.
  8. Estoppel letters and FTC complaints to those who do not comply with audits.
  9. We utilize Delivery Confirmation mail when auditing the creditors and collection agencies to create a paper trail of documented proof.

We don’t just write letters or dispute online with the credit bureaus. We do validations of debt and audit the creditors directly. We professionally audit the creditors and collection agencies using over 400 different custom letters. We continue to create new custom letters. We don’t use form letters like most credit repair companies. We tailor it to your needs. Our intense audit demands validation and verification of derogatory information using the:

  1. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  2. Fair Credit Reporting Act
  3. Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act
  4. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

These four Federal laws have been established to protect consumers’ credit reports. Creditors and credit bureaus are legally obligated to produce documented evidence within a reasonable amount of time, generally 30 days, to prove the information they are reporting. If they cannot validate their claims, they must promptly remove any undocumented information from the consumer’s credit report.

Source

Contact Us Today To Fix Your Credit Score!

Self Credit Repair

Self Credit Repair

Do you check your credit reports regularly? Credit reports are your credit references, as reported by your lenders. And, unfortunately, some lenders may accidentally report inaccurate information about your payment history. This is why it’s important for everyone to monitor their credit reports regularly and to dispute any information that is inaccurate. Today we wanted to show you a complete guide to do-it-yourself credit repair.

If you ever need to fix your credit report, here are the steps to take (and online apps you need) to get your credit report updated quickly – without paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to “credit repair” clinics.

Step 1: Request your free credit report from each credit bureau

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to one free credit report each year from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and you can get this through AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

In addition, you may request a free report directly from the credit reporting companies in certain circumstances. “Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers who receive public assistance, are unemployed (and seeking employment), or believe their credit report contains fraudulent data, are also entitled to a free report,” says Maxine Sweet, Vice President of Public Education at Experian.

CREDIT TIP: You can keep a close eye on the credit activity that is being reported for you simply by requesting a free credit report every four months. For example, get your Experian Report in January, Equifax in May, and TransUnion in September.

Step 2: Audit your credit reports carefully

“Remember that credit report information comes from the companies who have accounts with you. The goal is not just to fix your credit report, but to make sure that your information is correct with the source so that it will be reported correctly to everyone who checks your credit references. Reviewing your credit report can help you discover and resolve those inaccuracies,” says Sweet.

Each credit report differs in how information is presented, but here’s a breakdown of what you’ll typically find:

  • Personal  Identification (addresses, employment history, name, social security number)
  • Types of Accounts (revolving, installment, loans, joint accounts, credit limits, debts)
  • Collections (if any accounts went to collections)
  • Public Records (about  financial obligations)
  • Consumer Statement (such as a statement of dispute if you do not agree with your lender about the status of your account)
  • Hard Credit Inquiries (showing you applied for new credit or services)
  • Soft Credit Inquiries (showing requests made by lenders who sent you an offer or that you requested your own report — soft inquiries are shown only to you)

Here’s a sample credit report [pdf] from Experian explaining the different parts of your report:

As you audit your credit report, pay close attention to these areas:

Missed Payments
Your payment history makes up the biggest part of your credit scores, so any past-due amounts or late payments will damage your scores (especially missed mortgage payments). If you have any missed payments on your report that are incorrect, make sure to dispute the inaccuracy because it can make a big impact on your scores. You may need to talk to your lender to find out why your records do not agree about the payment.

Length of Time Using Credit (Depth of Credit)
Many people don’t realize that older credit accounts with good credit history actually help you. It shows you have managed credit well for a significant amount of time. Consider the pros of cons before you close any accounts (if they are tempting you to overspend).

The Variety of Accounts
Having a mix of different credit accounts can help you because it shows you know how to manage different types of credit. Managing a car loan with a fixed monthly payment is very different from managing a credit card where you control the amount you owe and pay each month.

Recent Credit Accounts
If you’ve recently taken out a loan or credit card, you’ll want to make sure it’s appearing on your credit report. New credit accounts can signal risk (and could lower your scores at first), but the added credit mix and consistent payment history will likely improve your scores over time.

Amount of Credit
It’s important to make sure you’re using less than 30% of your available credit on revolving credit accounts. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit on a credit card – you never want to carry a balance over $3,000 because it can hurt your credit scores. The lower, the better. 

So while auditing your credit report, make sure the credit limit assigned on your revolving accounts are accurate – and the amount owed is under 30% of your credit limit. If not, consider requesting a higher credit limit on that credit card to lower your utilization rate. Even better, pay down your balances so that you are only charging what you can pay in full each month.

CREDIT TIP: If you notice any fraud, you can set a fraud alert right away which cautions lenders to verify your identity before opening any new credit accounts. It’s simple to set-up fraud alerts by using  these  direct links to ExperianEquifax, and TransUnion. “You can also freeze your credit reports for a small fee to prevent new creditors from accessing your report. However, freezing your credit reports means you will have to temporarily unfreeze them when you need services, which can be inconvenient,” says Sweet.

Step 3: Dispute incorrect data

There is no cost to dispute any items on your credit report. And you can dispute incorrect information in a variety of ways. Always start with a current copy of your credit report. Then, you can call the phone number on your credit report or use one of the following online apps from one of the following credit bureaus:

Screenshot of the Experian Credit Dispute App

Screenshot of the Equifax Credit Dispute App

Screenshot of the TransUnion Credit Dispute App

“In most cases, you only need to ask one credit bureau to dispute an account on your behalf .. If your lender responds to a disputed item with a correction, they are required to report that corrected information to any credit reporting company to which they provide their data,” according to Sweet.

Some people think that disputing information on your credit report can hurt your credit scores, but that is not true. Disputes are not reported in your history and are not scored.  Disputing inaccurate information is exactly what you should do to help ensure your credit history is correct.  Another myth is that disputing information you believe is inaccurate will cause info to remain longer on your credit. Information is deleted based on the dates of missed payments or when the account was closed, for example.

CREDIT TIP: If you cannot resolve a disputed item with your lender, you may add a “Statement of Dispute” to your credit report explaining  why the information is incorrect. The statement you write must be under 100 words, and should address why the info the lender is reporting is incorrect. For example, “Never missed any payments with [Lender Name].”  This statement will remain on your report for two years and visible to anyone who has permission to review your report.

Step 4: Wait 30 days for removal or response from creditor

When you dispute an item on your report, the credit bureau will contact the creditor to respond to the dispute. If no response is received within 30-45 days, the credit bureau will remove the account or correct the negative information and notify you of the results.  “If you disagree with the results, you may need to contact the creditor directly and provide additional documentation if your records do not agree with theirs,” says Sweet.

CREDIT TIP: If you need additional help with debt or your credit, avoid going to a “credit repair clinic,” which could cost you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Instead, seek out an accredited non-profit credit counseling agency. And, if you know of a great non-profit credit counseling agency, please share in the comments.

Step 5: Request a new credit report from each credit agency

After an item is corrected with one credit reporting company, wait three or four weeks before requesting a fresh credit report from the other credit bureaus. You want to give the creditor some time to report the corrected data. Getting a fresh report will ensure that the item has been removed or updated. You may also choose to purchase a  credit score to see if your risk level has improved.

WAYS TO AUDIT YOUR CREDIT REPORTS

WAYS TO AUDIT YOUR CREDIT REPORTS

Be careful. Not all websites that provide credit reports and scores are forthright in their offerings. While it’s factual that upon sign up you’ll get your 3 bureau credit reports for free, fine print for quite a lot of these products will consist of automatic enrollment into their trial credit monitoring programs. Most of these free trials run for either 1 week or a month, then your visa or master card will be charged for continuation of the service.

top credit monitoring service

If someone purchases an automobile in your name, commits a crime in your business and law enforcement come and arrest you, is Lifelock going to receive out of jail?

Finally, crucial to call your local police department. If you beloved this article and you simply would like to obtain more info pertaining to top credit monitoring service nicely visit our web page. Give them your regarding items were being in your wallet. Possibly that your wallet will not be recovered, but you will want to have an accurate record of when your wallet was taken the was associated with it. There have been instances where cardholders are required to provide this info. You may get asked to gone down and sign a police report, so be to be able to do therefore asked.

There are ways to boost the entire process of protecting yourself after the theft of the credit note cards. A credit card master list is a helpful tool in remembering exactly how it is you carry in your wallet. It’s keep copies of linkedin profile each credit card you carry in your wallet, but additionally your personal identifications and other cards. Keep these copies in a good place, preferably a safety deposit box. If your wallet is stolen, you can readily retrieve these documents and build your required messages or calls.

Next, observing want collection your sights on apply for auto lender. In preparation for that, have one (or all three) of similar to credit monitoring agencies pull credit score report. Then, peruse it carefully, line by line, while trying to find any errors or blunders. If you find any, write a formal letter of protest to your respective agency and make it fixed.

You are just like doubt short on funds, but any cash you get together in your down payment will build up your odds even more. Even offering only a few hundred dollars as a symptom of good faith can display your lender than own every aim of sharing danger of of this vehicle loan with these folks.

Before passing along Credit Card info or any private information over the web, you should definitely are using SSL. Totally . know this when services URL starts off with HTTPS:// as opposed to HTTP://. If you might be not sure, call the technical support department to be sure the transaction are usually safe.

Why should you repair your credit regularly?

Why should you repair your credit regularly?

Your credit score is a crucial aspect of your financial profile – it provides information about your eligibility to qualify for a mortgage, credit card, job, rental home, business loan and vehicle. Surprisingly, many of us remain oblivious of our credit score until we are denied a mortgage, quoted a high interest rate on an auto loan or disqualified from our dream job.

This is why you need to keep a close check on your credit report. It is essential to be aware of your credit score and learn how to improve it. Federal laws entitle you to check your credit report for free from any of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian), once a year. You are also eligible to request an additional report if you are denied credit.

Credit Score vs. Credit Report

Credit Score

Your credit score, also known as Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score, is a three digit number that shows your creditworthiness. Ranging from 300 to 850, your credit score helps lenders to determine your ability to repay credit; in this regard, the primary score issued by FICO is considered to be the most accurate assessment. In addition, the credit score issued by each of the three major credit bureaus may have some disparity.

Credit Report

A credit report, on the other hand, contains your credit history and helps in analyzing the components that determine your credit score. It is suggested that you regularly check your credit report in order to identify any discrepancy and get it rectified at the earliest. Errors in your credit report may happen frequently and can wreck your credit score.

Tips to Monitor your Credit Report

Examine your Credit Score

The main rule of thumb is to check your credit report from the credit bureaus, at least once every four months. For instance, you can check Experian in January, TransUnion in May and Equifax in September. The bottom line is to keep a regular check on your credit report in order to detect any discrepancy, at the earliest. Check the accuracy of all credit information available in your credit report, verify your payment history, account numbers and balances, ensuring there are no errors or discrepancies.

Compare Reports

Compare the information that is provided by each of the credit reporting bureaus. It might happen that all the creditors may not report their information to all three bureaus. Hence why the information provided by each of them may differ.

Take a smart approach and responsibly use your credit. Proactive monitoring of your credit report is an effective solution to keep your finances in control and achieve your financial goals.