FACTA and Your Consumer Rights
Identity theft is one of the leading consumer crimes in the U.S. In 2017, over 6% of consumers became victims of identity fraud. That is about 1 in 15 people. In countable numbers, that equals to 16.7 million victims as of 2017. Unfortunately, there is has been a study increase of identity theft over the years. The more access people have to new technologies, the likelihood of identity theft increases. In certain instances, victims of identity theft do not know that it is happening until they check their credit report. There are a number of federal laws enacted to combat identity theft. These laws are designed to regulate personal information and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
FACTA is one of these such laws. FACTA stands for Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. It is a federal consumer rights law that functions as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970. As discussed, the key to decreasing the instances of identity theft is to create barriers for criminals to obtain sensitive consumer data. Therefore, FACTA’s main purpose is to reduce the risk of identity theft by regulating how consumer account information is handled. Several governmental departments and agencies including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation–among other agencies–enforce these activities.
Red Flags Rule
To enforce FACTA, the agencies created the Red Flag Rules in 2007. These rules require banks and creditors to develop and create institutional activities aimed to prevent identity theft. These rules advise that a credit reporting agency should provide consumers with a summary of their rights under the law should the consumer contact them in relation to identity theft. The agency enforcing FACTA is also obligated by law to block any information that the consumer can identify as resulting from the theft. Further, the block must be implemented within four days of the receipt of proof of the identity theft.
Protecting Your Identity
Safeguarding your personal information from identity thieves should be a priority. There are certain simple steps consumers can take to prevent theft. Firstly, all consumers should monitor their credit report on a regular basis. Placing a credit alert on your credit account can help you do this if you have been a victim in the past. Consumers should review their accounts and confirm its accuracy. Consumers should be cautious about whom they share their social security number. Similarly, consumer should stop responding to unsolicited credit card and other marketing materials. Lastly, knowing your rights under the law can help you get things back on track.
Fort Lauderdale Consumer Law Attorney
If you have been a victim of identity theft, the first thing you should do is to protect your sensitive data. Next, you should know your rights and seek any possible legal solutions. Attorney Brendan A. Sweeney is an experienced consumer law attorney with years of experience advising on FACTA and identity theft issues. Contact us for a consultation.