Consider the following...
Identity theft continues to be a rampant and troubling crime in America.
Each year, an estimated 10 million people are victimized by identity theft.
Identity theft can affect your ability to conduct normal daily affairs.
The FACT Act allows you to obtain one free credit report from each main credit reporting agency, once-per-year, at no cost to you.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act)
The FACT Act was signed into law by President Bush on December 4, 2003 to better ensure that all citizens are treated fairly when applying for a mortgage or other type of credit. The Act also provided important provisions to help fight identity theft. One of the provisions gives every consumer the right to obtain their credit report, free of charge, every year.
Effective September 1, 2005, consumers in all US States and US territories have access to one free credit report per year from each main credit bureau - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Consumers may request their free credit report(s) as follows:
Request via the Internet:
www.annualcreditreport.com (Reports provided on-line)
Request via Telephone:
1-877-322-8228 (1-877-FACTACT) (Reports provided via mail)
Request via Mail: (form required)
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Review your credit reports for:
b) Fraudulent Accounts
c) Account Management, i.e. close old and unnecessary accounts.
The FACT Act not only allows you the opportunity to review a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com, but also allows you to review one free report from 'Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies'.
While different than the credit bureaus, these agencies also compile and share data about you from your public records when relating to:
- Medical records or payments
- Residential or tenant history
- Check writing history
- Employment history
- Insurance claims
Like your credit report, it is a good idea to review these records for accuracy and possible fraud. Inaccuracies may be the result of simple errors or signal that an identity thief has used your personal information for abuse or gain.
Other Consumer Reports
To request copies of your (auto/ home insurance) claims history report, visit www.ChoiceTrust.com or call 1-866-312-8076.
To request a copy of your employment history report, call 1-866-312-8075.
To request a copy of your tenant history report, call 1-877-448-5732.
For more information on these reports, visit www.ChoicePoint.com
To request a copy of your banking history report from ChexSystems, visit www.consumerdebit.com
To request a copy of your banking history report from SCAN, visit www.consumerdebit.com or call 1-800-262-7771.
The FACT Act will help ensure that all Americans, of every income level and background, are able to build good credit and better confront the problem of identify theft by incorporating the following:
- Ensuring that lenders make decisions on loans based on full and fair credit histories, and not on discriminatory stereotypes.
- Improving the quality of credit information, and protecting consumers against identity theft by:
- Giving every consumer the right to his or her credit report free of charge every year.
- Helping prevent identity theft before it occurs by requiring merchants to leave all but the last five digits of a credit card number off store receipts.
- Establishing a nationwide system of fraud alerts for consumers to place on their credit files. Credit reporting agencies that receive such alerts from customers will now be obliged to follow procedures to ensure that any future requests are by the true consumer, not an identity thief posing as the consumer. The law also will enable active duty military personnel to place special alerts on their files when they are deployed overseas.
- Requiring credit reporting agencies to stop reporting allegedly fraudulent account information when a consumer establishes that he or she has been the victim of identity theft.
- Requiring creditors or businesses to provide copies of business records of fraudulent accounts or transactions related to them.
- Allowing consumers to report accounts affected by identity theft directly to creditors - in addition to credit reporting agencies.
The FACT Act provides consumers new tools to better fight identity theft. We encourage you to obtain your free credit report each year and to understand that identity theft is serious business that will continue to evolve as thieves become more sophisticated and as thieves react to new defenses like the FACT Act.