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What is FACTA?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2013 | Consumer Protection

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) that was added in 2003 to safeguard consumers from the growing dangers of identity theft.  FACTA sets out guidelines for which consumer information can be shared and sets parameters for the use, privacy, and accuracy of this information.

This amendment to the FCRA entitled consumers to a free copy of their credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. They sought to reduce the risk of identity theft by allowing consumers to place fraud alerts and deployment notifications on their credit reports.

Fraud Alert

To better protect consumers who have been the victim of identity theft, FACTA instituted a “fraud alert” notation with the credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”).  If you have been the victim of identity theft or believe your identity may have been compromised, you are entitled to contact the credit reporting agencies and place an alert on your report.

You need only notify one CRA. In response, the one CRA must notify the other CRAs of your alert. The CRAs must then include a statement on your report that you have been a victim of identity theft and provide a number at which a credit grantor may contact you if any applications for credit are made in your name.

This alert is to last up to 90 days unless you request an extension which is to last up to seven years.  Similar to the fraud alert, FACTA allows consumers on active duty in the military to list this on their report.  The purpose of the active duty notation is to protect those on deployment while their credit remains idle.

More Preventative Fraud Measures

Another step taken in protecting consumers against identity theft under FACTA was by prohibiting merchants from printing more than five digits of your credit and/or bank cards or dates of expiration on consumer receipts.  Failure to comply with this provision is punishable with statutory damages ranging from $100 up to $1000 in individual actions and in a class action can grow exponentially.

Credit Reports for Fraud Alerts

In summation, FACTA requires the three main credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, to provide credit reports free of charge annually. This allows consumers to place fraud alerts on their credit reports if they are believed to have been a victim of identity theft. FACTA also requires merchants to truncate a consumer’s bank or credit card number and card expiration date on customer receipts.

Request Your Free Case Review

SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005.  If you feel your rights have been violated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or more specifically under FACTA, contact SmithMarco, P.C. for a free case review.