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Fair Credit Reporting Act Guidelines:
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a law which regulates the activities of credit reporting bureaus. Private credit reporting bureaus, such as TRW Information Services, Equifax Credit Information Services and TransUnion Credit Information Company, maintain records of financial payment histories, public record data (such as unlawful detainer actions taken against you, or money judgments entered against you), along with personal identification information. Credit reporting bureaus sell the information that they have to creditors so that they can make decisions as to whether or not credit should be offered to you.
The FCRA punishes unauthorized persons who obtain credit reports, as well as employees of credit reporting bureaus who furnish credit reports to unauthorized persons. The FTC also places responsibilities on those who supply the reporting bureaus with the initial information.
If the information about you from a credit reporting bureau is all good, you need not worry about it - you should be able to obtain credit to purchase goods and services, rent an apartment, obtain a home mortgage loan, apply for insurance, and even obtain employment.
However, the information on file with credit reporting bureaus may be used against you, to deny you credit, employment, or even the ability to rent an apartment. It is a good idea to check your credit reports on an annual basis - so that you know what information is being made available to creditors before it is disclosed to them. Credit reporting bureaus are allowed to charge you a reasonable fee to obtain a copy of your credit report. If credit has been denied to you based upon information obtained from a credit reporting bureau, the creditor must provide you with the credit reporting bureaus' name and address. If you request (by telephone, mail or in person) a copy of your credit report from such credit reporting bureau within thirty days of being denied credit, the credit reporting bureau must send your credit report to you for free, including the names of creditors who have provided the information to the bureau, and the names of everyone who has received a credit report on you in the last six months, or an employment report in the last two years.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the law that restricts who has access to people's sensitive credit information and what uses can be made of it. If you've ever applied for a charge account, a personal loan, insurance, or a job, there's a file about you. This file contains information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Companies that gather and sell this information are called Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau. The information CRAs sell about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a consumer report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, is designed to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of the information used in consumer reports. Recent amendments to the Act expand your rights and place additional requirements on CRAs. Businesses that supply information about you to CRAs and those that use consumer reports also have new responsibilities under the law.
As a public service, the staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has prepared the following complete text of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Although staff generally followed the format of the U.S. Code as published by the Government Printing Office, the format of this text does differ in minor ways from the Code (and from West's U.S. Code Annotated). This version of the FCRA is complete as of January 7, 2002. It includes the amendments to the FCRA set forth in the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996.
The entire federal Fair Credit Reporting Act document can be found at the FTC website, http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra.htm.