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Do You Know Your Requirements Under the Recently Expanded Laws Focused on Protecting Consumers Against Fraud and Identity Theft?

Do You Know Your Requirements Under the Recently Expanded Laws Focused on Protecting Consumers Against Fraud and Identity Theft?

On May 24, 2018 Congress enacted S.2155 - Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The law expands consumer rights when they feel they have been, or are about to become, a victim of fraud or identity theft.

Specifically, the law amends provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by extending the length of time of an initial fraud alert, from ninety (90) days to one year, and allows consumers the ability to obtain a security freeze, free of charge, with all three nationwide credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

The law also requires a new consumer notice advising of their rights to obtain a security freeze. The new notice is required, effective September 21, 2018, at any time a consumer is required to receive a summary of rights under section 609 (§1681g) of the FCRA. The notice shall include the following:

“You have a right to place a ‘security freeze’ on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit.

“As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended fraud alert on your credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting 7 years.

“A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity, with which you have an existing account that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.”

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