When consumers apply for credit, housing, or employment, consumer reports are often used to help decide whether they can get that loan, apartment, or job. With so much at stake, the accuracy of those reports is of the utmost importance. On December 10, 2019, the FTC and CFPB will host a workshop to discuss issues related to the accuracy of traditional credit reports and background screening reports used by prospective employers and landlords.
Blog Posts Tagged with Credit Reporting
Patch your software. Segment your network. Monitor for intruders. According to tech experts, those are security basics for businesses of any size. But when you’re industry giant Equifax – a company in possession of staggering amounts of highly confidential information about more than 200 million Americans – it’s almost unthinkable not to implement those fundamental protections.
Looking to take a deep dive into the breadth and depth of the FTC’s approach to consumer privacy and data security in the past year? The FTC’s website, including the Business Center, has what you need. But what if you or your clients prefer an at-your-fingertips digest of developments in 2018? We’re got that covered, too.
Steely Dan may be one of the best duos of the rock era. (Sorry, Donnie and Marie fans.) Their song “Hey Nineteen” reminds us to mention some FTC consumer protection developments that could be of interest to your company or clients in 2019. As “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” when you’re “Reelin’ in the Years” – or at least recapping the past one – consider this non-exhaustive and in-no-particular-order case compilation.
When people are looking to rent a house or apartment, the most important “screening” isn’t on the windows of the prospective new place. It’s the tenant background screening that goes on behind the scenes, the results of which can make the difference between home sweet home and homeless.
Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st. What does that mean for your customers and employees?
Free credit freezes
Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. Starting September 21st, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. They also can get free freezes for their children.
Food experts don’t recommend it for your ground chuck or pork shoulder, but starting September 21, 2018, there’s something consumers can safely freeze, unfreeze, and then freeze again.
It’s their credit file.
The scheme started with a Craigslist ad for a rental property and ended with a $5.2 million judgment for violations of the FTC Act, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Free Annual File Disclosures Rule.
So you’ve received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission related to a consumer protection matter. Now what? We appreciate that it can be daunting for any company – especially a small business – and we want to be as transparent as possible about the process.
There’s been a lot of talk about identity theft lately. Maybe you’ve even heard from customers affected by it. Your help can make a big difference. In fact, did you know that your business is required to provide identity theft victims with copies of records relating to the theft?
After the Equifax breach, your customers, clients, and employees may be coming to you with questions. Some people are considering placing a fraud alert on their credit file. Others are thinking about freezing or locking their credit files to help prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in their name. Here are some FAQs to help you help them think through their options.
UPDATE: As of September 21, 2018, the law says credit freezes are free for everyone, and alerts now last one year (not 90 days). Read more here.
It’s the thread that connects Alexandre Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, the title character in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Don Draper’s back story in Mad Men – and an event scheduled for May 24, 2017, at the FTC.
It’s identity theft.
If your company gets background information on prospective employees, it’s likely you’re covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Before you get a background screening report, the law requires that you make certain disclosures and get a prospective employee’s authorization. Is it time for a FCRA compliance check?
Need to verify an applicant's employment or income history? Checking to see if a candidate has a criminal history or civil judgments?
If you get information from a company that compiles it so you can make eligibility determinations, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That means no double-dipping. If you get a consumer report for one purpose, don’t use it for a different purpose.
Do you ever hear from customers or employees who want you to know that they’ve been affected by identity theft? If so, you’ll probably start seeing them use the new FTC Identity Theft Report. It tells you that someone important to your business is a crime victim, has alerted law enforcement, and is working to resolve the financial and emotional disruption that identity theft causes.
As the old saying goes, “The job’s not finished until the paperwork is done.” But since the enactment of the FTC’s Disposal Rule, the job’s not finished until the paperwork – in this case, consumer reports or information derived from them – is securely destroyed.
If you’d like details about how the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act was amended to recalculate penalties using a formula based on the percentage by which the Department of Labor’s October 2015 Consumer Price Index exceeds the Index for October in the year in which the penalty was enacted or last adjusted by law, the FTC has issued a Federal Register Notice explaining it.
Remember the old ad, “It’s a breath mint. It’s a candy mint. It’s two, two, two mints in one”? Or maybe the Saturday Night Live takeoff, “It’s a dessert topping and a floor wax!” It’s not unusual for something to do double duty. And if you’re in the business of compiling background information for employment purposes, you’re not just a background screening company. Chances are you’re also a consumer reporting agency subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In the words of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” If your company provides information about consumers to credit bureaus, the law requires that you have written policies in place regarding the accuracy and integrity of that data. But are your policies worth the paper they’re printed on? That’s one of the issues presented in an FTC settlement with Dallas-based debt collector Credit Protection Association.