Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

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Definition of 'Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)'

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates the collection, use, and disclosure of consumer credit information. The FCRA was enacted in 1970 to protect consumers from inaccurate and unfair credit reporting. The law established the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and gave consumers the right to access their credit reports, dispute inaccurate information, and place fraud alerts on their credit reports.

The FCRA also requires credit reporting agencies to follow certain procedures when collecting and using consumer credit information. For example, credit reporting agencies must obtain consumers' consent before they can create a credit report and must only use information that is relevant to a consumer's creditworthiness. Credit reporting agencies must also investigate consumer disputes and correct any inaccurate information in a consumer's credit report.

The FCRA is an important law that protects consumers from identity theft, credit fraud, and other financial crimes. The law gives consumers the tools they need to protect their credit and financial information.

Here are some specific examples of how the FCRA protects consumers:

* Consumers have the right to access their credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once per year.
* Consumers have the right to dispute inaccurate information on their credit reports. If a consumer disputes an item on their credit report, the credit reporting agency must investigate the dispute and either remove the item or provide evidence that it is accurate.
* Consumers have the right to place fraud alerts on their credit reports. A fraud alert tells creditors to take extra precautions before opening any new accounts in a consumer's name.
* Consumers have the right to opt out of prescreened credit offers. Prescreened credit offers are unsolicited offers of credit that are based on information that has been collected about a consumer without their consent.

The FCRA is a complex law, and there are many other provisions that protect consumers. If you have any questions about the FCRA, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is an independent agency that was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The CFPB's mission is to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the financial industry.

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