#credit report agencies
Most Common Violations of the FCRA
Learn common ways that creditors and consumer reporting agencies violate the FCRA so you can better protect your credit information.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides protection against the misuse and misreporting of your credit information. When creditors, collectors, or credit reporting agencies violate the provisions of the FCRA, it can cause a lower credit score, denial of credit, higher interest rates on loans and credit extensions, and more. It’s important to recognize when the FCRA has been violated, so you can take action and prevent harm to your credit. This article describes some of the more common FCRA violations.
What Is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
The FCRA governs the behavior of consumer reporting agencies (also called credit bureaus) and the businesses or individuals that report information to the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). The CRAs compile this information into your credit report. Your credit report serves an important purpose. It can determine whether you can obtain a mortgage, car loan, job, and even an apartment. The FCRA tells CRAs, creditors, and other authorized persons what they can and cannot do with your credit information.
Common Violations of the FCRA
Here are some of the more common ways that creditors, collectors, and CRAs violation the FCRA.
Furnishing and Reporting Old Information
CRAs and the creditors who supply information to them must provide and keep your credit information current. When your credit circumstances have changed and the information in your credit report is not updated to reflect these changes, this may be a violation of the FCRA. Some examples of this include:
reporting old debts as new or re-aged (to learn more, see Debt Buyers Credit Reports )
reporting an account as active when it was voluntarily closed by a consumer, and
reporting information that is more than seven years old (bankruptcy) or ten years old (civil judgments).
Furnishing and Reporting Inaccurate Information
reporting late payments when you paid timely
listing you as a debtor on an account when you were only the authorized user, or
supplying credit information on an account where identity theft was previously reported (or failing to maintain a reasonable procedure for you to report identity theft).
CRAs can also run afoul of their obligations to report accurate credit information about you. In many instances, this happens when a credit bureau mixes your file with that belonging to someone else with similar background information. Some common cases of mixed files include:
morphing or duplicating negative credit information with a stranger who shares a similar social security number
failing to distinguish the Jr. and Sr. in similar surnames
mixing the information of persons with the same last name and similar first names, and
combining or mixing credit files of persons with similar names living in the same city or zip code.
Failing to Follow Debt Dispute Procedures