Imagine looking at your credit report, whether it’s the first time in a long time, or whether you just checked it a month or two ago, and you find it’s now riddled with errors and inaccuracies from someone pretending to be you.
Identity theft happens all the time, and the consequences can be devastating for a consumer’s ability to get loans, rent an apartment, or even land a decent job. But there’s some good news; the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA has got you covered, and Section 605b is arguably one of the most important parts of the Act to familiarize yourself with.
We’re going to unpack the power of Section 605b, and what you’ll need to do to wield its power effectively.
With some time and effort, you’ll see how Section 605b can help to transform your credit life. If you go through the standard channels, however, and still find yourself struggling with inaccuracies that should have been removed months ago, you may even be able to bring legal action against those responsible and get compensation for your damages.
Before we get into the details of Section 605b, you’re going to need a working knowledge of the FCRA. The Act was originally enacted back in 1970 to help promote accuracy, fairness, and privacy in the collection and dissemination, and ultimately all use, of consumer credit file information.
It provides multiple rights and protections for consumers and outlines the regulations and expectations imposed on creditors, lenders, and furnishers of information to the credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. It also establishes the requirements and guidelines for the reporting of consumer credit information, as well as the dispute resolution processes, and the requirements for gaining access to credit reports.
Section 605b focuses on blocking information on a consumer’s credit report that is the result of their identity being stolen. In simpler terms, if a particular consumer can show proof that a negative item or multiple items on their credit report are inaccurate due to identity theft, the credit bureau is legally obligated to either remove or block that information from their current report.
To have the information blocked under Section 605b, a consumer must provide the following three things:
Once the consumer has provided the needed documentation to the credit bureau, the bureau first must block the information within four business days of the consumer’s initial report and submission of proof of identity theft.
Then, the credit bureau must notify the furnisher of the information that it has been blocked due to identity theft. Once the information has been blocked and the furnisher has been made aware of the situation, the credit bureau must follow up with the consumer and provide final confirmation
If the credit bureau refuses to block information, despite them being given the appropriate documentation and required proof, the consumer may have grounds to bring legal action against the bureau. The consumer can work with an attorney to file a lawsuit against that bureau for failing to comply with the guidelines outlined in the FCRA, which can even lead to recovering damages, along with legal fees and court costs.
As an additional measure, if the consumer is unsatisfied with the bureau’s response, they can also file an official complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, or even the state’s attorney general.
Section 605b underscores the importance of regularly monitoring your credit report for inaccuracies, no matter where those inaccuracies come from. By checking your credit report at least once per year, you can dramatically increase the chances that you’ll be able to find incorrect or even fraudulent information and be able to take prompt action.
In most cases, the errors or inaccuracies you find should be simple issues of typos, clerical or data entry errors, or even a double debt listing, but there are times when checking your report will show you evidence of far more nefarious issues at work that need to be addressed swiftly.
The FCRA gives consumers the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report from each of the three bureaus, every 12 months. The only official website to do so is the Annual Credit Report site, but there are also popular apps like CreditKarma that allow consumers to track their credit reports at any time.
FCRA Section 605b is one of the most critical segments of the FCRA, and it’s one of the most essential overall consumer protection measures that safeguard your credit report from the devastating effects of identity theft.
By understanding your rights under this section, as well as taking the steps needed to block inaccurate information, you will be able to maintain a healthy credit profile much more easily.
Remember, if you’ve done everything you need to, and the bureaus still aren’t removing or blocking inaccurate information, you may have grounds to bring legal action against them and recover compensation for any damages you’ve suffered. Reach out to Fair Credit today to discuss your case.