States Take Proactive Measures With Credit Reports

The recent hack of the consumer reporting agency Equifax compromised the security of 143 million Americans’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the perils of identity theft and its impact on consumer credit reports. As a response to these concerns, certain credit monitoring and control provisions have been granted to consumers through federal and state. 

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, or FACT Act , provides U.S. consumers greater access to their credit history and provides measures for defending against identify theft. One of the act’s most noted features is that it allows consumers to obtain one free credit report yearly from each of the major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion). This equates to three reports per year that may be requested individually or simultaneously.

Several states have added further statutory protections for their residents, including additional free or reduced-price credit reports. This provision allows for more affordable and frequent report monitoring for consumers to safeguard their credit history.