For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore or write to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street N.W., Washington, DC 20552.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you specific rights when you are, or believe that you are, the victim of identity theft. Here is a brief summary of the rights designed to help you recover from identity theft.
You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer reporting agencies
place "fraud alerts" in your file to let potential creditors
and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft.
A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your
name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect
you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a
fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide
consumer reporting agencies. As soon as that agency processes your fraud
alert, it will notify the other two, which then also must place fraud
alerts in your file.
Equifax: 1.800.685.1111 www.equifax.com
Experian: 1.888.397.3742 experian.com
TransUnion: 1.800.888.4213 www.transunion.com
You have the right to free copies of the information in your file
(your "file disclosure").
An initial fraud alert
entitles you to a copy of all the information in your file at each of the
three nationwide agencies, and an
extended alert entitles
you to two free file disclosures in a 12-month period following the
placing of the alert. These additional disclosures may help you detect
signs of fraud, for example, whether fraudulent accounts have been opened
in your name or whether someone has reported a change in your address.
Once a year, you also have the right to a free copy of the information in
your file at any consumer reporting agency, if you believe it has
inaccurate information due to fraud, such as identity theft. You also have
the ability to obtain additional free file disclosures under other
provisions of the FCRA. See
You have the right to obtain documents relating to fraudulent
transactions made or accounts opened using your personal information.
A creditor or other business must give you copies of applications and
other business records relating to transactions and accounts that resulted
from the theft of your identity, if you ask for them in writing. A
business may ask you for proof of your identity, a police report, and an
affidavit before giving you the documents. It may also specify an address
for you to send your request. Under certain circumstances, a business can
refuse to provide you with these documents. See
You have the right to obtain information from a debt collector.
If you ask, a debt collector must provide you with certain information
about the debt you believe was incurred in your name by an identity thief
- like the name of the creditor and the amount of the debt.
If you believe information in your file results from identity theft,
you have the right to ask that a consumer reporting agency block that
information from your file.
An identity thief may run up bills in your name and not pay them.
Information about the unpaid bills may appear on your consumer report.
Should you decide to ask a consumer reporting agency to block the
reporting of this information, you must identify the information to block,
and provide the consumer reporting agency with proof of your identity and
a copy of your
identity theft report.
The consumer reporting agency can refuse or cancel your request for a
block if, for example, you don't provide the necessary documentation, or
where the block results from an error or a material misrepresentation of
fact made by you. If the agency declines or rescinds the block, it must
notify you. Once a debt resulting from identity theft has been blocked, a
person or business with notice of the block may not sell, transfer, or
place the debt for collection.
You also may prevent businesses from reporting information about you to consumer reporting agencies if you believe the information is a result of identity theft. To do so, you must send your request to the address specified by the business that reports the information to the consumer reporting agency. The business will expect you to identify what information you do not want reported and to provide an identity theft report.
To learn more about identity theft and how to deal with its consequences, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore, or write to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may have additional rights under state law. For more information, contact your local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General.
In addition to the new rights and procedures to help consumers deal with the effects of identity theft, the FCRA has many other important consumer protections. They are described in more detail at www.consumerfinance.gov/learnmore.