As the crime of identity theft has reached new heights, a law has come forward for your protection. Recent amendments in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) protect you in many ways.
Here is how this law helps you –
- You can place a fraud alert on the credit report by making just one phone call. Earlier, customers were required to make separate requests to all the three major credit reporting bureaus for a fraud alert. This hassle is removed now. You can just make one phone call to one bureau and the other two will automatically follow this instruction.
- You are entitled to get your credit report free of charge from all of these three bureaus once in a year. This will give you an opportunity to assess it to find out whether there is any irregular or fraudulent activity. It also helps you to shape up your report before applying for a mortgage.
- Protection is provided to military personnel against fraudulent use of their credit. They will be able to flag their credit reports by placing active duty alert. So if a creditor looks at it, he will easily come to know that this person is overseas and he can’t request new credit at this time. This active duty alert prohibits identity thieves from opening new lines of credit in the name of military personnel to create bigger debts in their absence.
- The merchants will not print on their receipts the last digits of credit card numbers of customers. So even if the customers throw away their receipts without shredding, they will not be exposed to the risks of identity theft.
- The victims of identity theft will be made available all information on the records of financial institutions in order to prove their innocence. Sometimes ago it was difficult to get even the copies of documents which the thieves used to apply for new credit in the name of original identity holder. These papers are very important for the victims as a lot of clues can be found out with these papers. For example, if a false signature is appearing on a document, it is a clear evidence of fraud.
- When a collections agency approaches you for dues, it must provide you copies of the relevant documents. If someone has misused your name to open a new account of credit, and that account is sent into collections, you are entitled to get information about the date when such account was opened, the purchases made under such account etc.
- If a creditor is informed that an outstanding debt is created due to identity theft, then the creditor will not approach collections agency for recovery but wait until the matter is investigated.
- The financial institutions must monitor accounts of their customers for the suspicious activities. So if a change of address is notified and immediately new credit card is requested, the institution must investigate whether the change of address is legitimate are not.
The government is giving helping hand to the probable victims of identity theft. However you cannot depend on government entirely to protect you. You should also have your own strategies at the same time to prevent identity thieves from damaging your financial life.