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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

15 U.S.C. 1681c-1 - part 3

I conclude my explanation of 15 U.S.C. 1681c-1 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

"(g) Duty of other consumer reporting agencies to provide contact information. If a consumer contacts any consumer reporting agency that is not described in section 603(p) to communicate a suspicion that the consumer has been or is about to become a victim of fraud or related crime, including identity theft, the agency shall provide information to the consumer on how to contact the Commission and the consumer reporting agencies described in section 603(p) to obtain more detailed information and request alerts under this section."

[This means that if a consumer tells a non-national credit bureau (i.e. one of the ones that are not part of the "big 3" credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) that he suspects he is a victim of fraud, identity theft or a related crime, this credit bureau must tell the consumer how to contact the FTC and the big three credit bureaus so he or she can obtain more detailed information and ask for fraud or active duty alerts as provided for by 1681c-1.]

"(h) Limitations on Use of Information for Credit Extensions

(1) Requirements for initial and active duty alerts -

(A) Notification. Each initial fraud alert and active duty alert under this section shall include information that notifies all prospective users of a consumer report on the consumer to which the alert relates that the consumer does not authorize the establishment of any new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issuance of an additional card or an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, except in accordance with subparagraph (B).

(B) Limitation on Users

(i) In general. No prospective user of a consumer report that includes an initial fraud alert or an active duty alert in accordance with this section may establish a new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issue an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or grant any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, unless the user utilizes reasonable policies and procedures to form a reasonable belief that the user knows the identity of the person making the request.

(ii) Verification. If a consumer requesting the alert has specified a telephone number to be used for identity verification purposes, before authorizing any new credit plan or extension described in clause (i) in the name of such consumer, a user of such consumer report shall contact the consumer using that telephone number or take reasonable steps to verify the consumer's identity and confirm that the application for a new credit plan is not the result of identity theft."

[This section is directed at users of credit reports, i.e. the company pulling the consumer's credit report for one of the permissible purposes identified in 1681b. If the consumer has an initial fraud alert or an active duty alert on his credit report, the user can not grant new credit or provide a new card or grant a credit limit increase unless the user uses reasonable procedures to verify that it does indeed know who is making the request. Further, if the consumer has provided a phone number, the user must contact the consumer using the phone number or take reasonable steps to verify the consumer's identity and that the applicant is not an identity thief. While "reasonable steps" is not defined, I would think it would mean what a reasonable person would do under like or similar circumstances.]

"(2) Requirements for Extended Alerts

(A) Notification. Each extended alert under this section shall include information that provides all prospective users of a consumer report relating to a consumer with -

(i) notification that the consumer does not authorize the establishment of any new credit plan or extension of credit described in clause (i), other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issuance of an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, except in accordance with subparagraph (B); and

(ii) a telephone number or other reasonable contact method designated by the consumer.

(B) Limitations on users. No prospective user of a consumer report or of a credit score generated using the information in the file of a consumer that includes an extended fraud alert in accordance with this section may establish a new credit plan or extension of credit, other than under an open-end credit plan (as defined in section 103(i)), in the name of the consumer, or issue an additional card on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, or any increase in credit limit on an existing credit account requested by a consumer, unless the user contacts the consumer in person or using the contact method described in subparagraph (A)(ii) to confirm that the application for a new credit plan or increase in credit limit, or request for an additional card is not the result of identity theft."

[This is (1) except that a contact phone number or other reasonable contact method is required and the user is required to use that phone number or contact method to confirm that the applicant is not an identity thief.]

That concludes my explanation of 15 U.S.C. 1681c-1 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I will start explaining 15 U.S.C. 1681c-2 in the next installment.

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