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Major Provisions of FACT

“Just the facts ma'am,” the line attributed to Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Classic 1951–1957 television crime show Dragnet was never actually spoken by Jack Webb on the show. The line is just a cultural myth. However the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT) is not a myth. It is the law and it is filled with important provisions. It deals with a number of different facets of credit reporting. One of its primary goals is to enhance the accuracy of the entire credit reporting system. It also has a number of provisions that deal with credit reporting and identity theft. Finally, it provides for a number of continuing studies of various areas, including credit scoring, technological advances in identity verification, and financial literacy in order to set the stage for future legislation. What follows are summaries of some of the important provisions of FACT.

Free Credit Reports

One of the major benefits of FACT is the provision that requires credit-reporting agencies to provide consumers, upon request, a free copy of their credit report annually within 15 days of the date of the request. Credit reporting agencies formerly charged for this service, except in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont, where state law already provided for an annual free report. You may expect to receive a host of solicitations for other services of the credit-reporting agencies with your free credit report as they take advantage of this law as a marketing opportunity.


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