With this year’s high profile breach at a large consumer reporting agency and credit cards ringing up balances during this holiday season, I have been fielding numerous calls from people in both a professional and personal capacity on what they should be doing to “truly” protect their identity and their credit accounts. I often find myself reiterating some of the basics of the laws in place to protect you and to empower you to safeguard your credit information. So, I thought a quick post sharing that information might be timely, helpful and possibly buy you some peace of mind.
- No one will care more about your privacy and security than you. Let me begin by reiterating a common mantra of mine: No one will care more about your privacy and security than you. While the law can provide a remedy and some protections, it will never move faster than you, nor will it know as much about your individual situation as you do. In truth, the law is your last remedy when dealing with information security-related issues. That said, there are protections and tools available to you at the federal and state level of which you might be able to avail yourself.
- Federal and state law. At the federal level, the privacy and security of your information stored by consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) is regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The FCRA regulates the use of consumer report information, or any information that might be used to determine your eligibility for something, such as a loan, apartment rental, job, license, etc. As this information includes sensitive details such as your social security number, date of birth, as well as details of your financial and professional history, the FCRA assigns many duties and obligations to CRAs and users of consumer reports. On top of that, many states have their own version of a fair credit reporting act that mirrors the federal law. In some cases, the state act provides more restrictions and protection on the use of personal information than the federal version.