In order to promote fairness and accuracy the Fair Credit Reporting Act 1970 is utilised to ensure this and to protect the privacy of any personal information. Credit reporting agencies are bound by this public law to keep any personal and financial data safe and secure. The act has been amended accordingly over the years through the courts and is used by these agencies while preparing credit reports, background checks and consumer investigations. There are provisions in the act that require the agencies to follow fair and reasonable procedures when handling such information. They must protect confidentiality and check the relevance and accuracy of the recorded data.
In the past it has proved difficult to report a violation in the act if an agency had used unfair practices or allowed personal information to be accessed. Reforms to the act make it much easier to report a violation and have it acted upon. This has made credit checking companies much more aware of the need for more attention to be paid to the protection of an individuals private details. There is better training, more secure storage practices, and limitations on who can access the information and for what purposes.
You now have the right to access your own credit file and this has enabled people to gain credit when they have previously been refused. If you find an error on your report then you can now take steps to rectify it. Once amended your file can be updated, you can apply again and your credit rating and score should improve.
Everyone should check that the details held about them and their credit history are correct. You may not think that it matters if there are discrepancies on your file but a bad credit rating can result. This can have an adverse effect when applying for a mortgage or to buy a car. It makes sense to check your recorded credit history and report any violations as soon as you become aware of them.
Other than applications for credit the information can only be accessed by certain organisations and government departments in connection with employment, insurance and court orders. If you feel that an agency has acted in violation of the act in any way then you can take action. You could receive some damages and your reasonable costs for a breach of this act. Data protection is taken much more seriously than it used to be.