University of Illinois Extension

Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act

Right To Put a "Fraud Alert" on Credit Reports If you've been the victim of identity theft, you can contact the credit reporting agencies and place a "fraud alert" on your reports. You will need to provide proof of your identity. The alert will remain for 90 days, but you can request that it be extended to seven years. Active duty military personnel can request a notation be placed on your reports for at least 12 months. If an alert is put on your reports, businesses must contact you to check that the credit application was made by you and not by an unauthorized person.

Receipts for Credit and Debit Card Transactions May Not Contain Full Account Numbers, Expiration Date, or Social Security Number Receipts that include full account numbers and expiration dates are gold mines for identity thieves. Receipts for credit and debit card transactions must not contain more than the last five digits of the card number or expiration date. When ordering your credit reports, request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number or similar identification numbers not be included in your report.

Free Copies of "Specialty" Reports - The FACT Act covers non-credit reports from specialty consumer reporting agencies for medical records or payments, insurance claims, and employment, check writing, and housing rental histories. You can request a free copy annually for any of the following specialty reports.

Opportunity to See Your Credit Scores - If you are applying for a mortgage or home equity loan, the FACT Act allows you to see your credit scores as well.

For More Information - For more information about the FACT Act, credit reports, or identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission's website, www.ftc.gov or www.annualcreditreport.com.

For more information on credit, see other Credit Card Smarts fact sheets. Related fact sheets are "Check Your Credit Report," "Protect Your Credit Information", "If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft", and "Fair Credit Reporting Act Update."

Written by Evelyn Prasse, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, Rockford Extension Center, University of Illinois Extension, 2009.

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