In case you aren’t aware, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act was written and passed by Congress in November of 2003. It didn’t not take long for President Bush to sign it into law as he penned his signature to the legislation on December 4th, 2003. From then on, the rules changed in how consumers can access the information that the three major credit reporting companies store on individuals.

One of the key features of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act was to give consumers the right to access their credit reports once every twelve months from the three largest credit reporting companies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian. Now in order to comply with the new law, all three companies, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, set up a website as a portal to access all three. The name of the site is Annualcreditreport.com.

So if you’ve been searching to get your credit report for free and you don’t want to be subjected to any type of sales offer, then you need to head straight to the site and follow the simple instructions. It’s safe, secure and incredibly easy to do.

Now the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act also put into place stipulations that help consumers better deal with the rising crime of identity theft. Since identity theft was on the increase and consumers were being financially ruined, something had to be done. So the FACT Act contained stipulations under the Title “Identity Theft Prevention and Credit History Restoration”.

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And just in case you didn’t know, various sections of legislation are called Titles. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act actually contained seven Titles or sections. The most important one though, at least in this authors opinion was the one that was just mentioned regarding identity theft.

Here are some of the important provisions that were established under the above Title:

  • Fraud Alerts – This is probably one of the key points. Consumer reporting agencies, (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) at the request of an individual who believes they have been a victim of fraud or identity theft must now place a fraud alert into a persons file and have it remain there for at least 90 days. It is also the responsibility of the agency to notify the remaining credit reporting agencies of the fraud alert. What this whole process essentially does, is that when someone requests your credit score, this fraud alert is also included letting creditors and lenders know that you may have been a victim of identity theft.
  • Truncation of Credit Card and Debit Card numbers – What the heck does that mean? In English, this Title of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act prohibits merchants from displaying any more than 5 digits on a printed sales receipt. Remember those old machines where everything was imprinted? Not anymore! It’s another layer added to protect your identity from thieves.

Although there are actually 7 Titles that compose the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act the majority of them overlap and most are just more provisions to protect you and your credit from identity thieves. If you need to really delve in deeper, the legislation is easily found online at the Federal Trade Commissions website.

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