The Federal Trade Commission testified today before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee that enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) remains a top priority, and outlined the agency’s efforts to educate consumers and businesses about the law’s requirements.

Testifying on behalf of the Commission at a hearing on credit bureaus and the FCRA, Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, noted that the Commission has played a key role in the implementation, enforcement, and interpretation of the FCRA since its enactment in 1970. The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to follow reasonable procedures to ensure they only provide consumer report information to those with a “permissible purpose” for receiving it; to maintain reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information; and to allow consumers to dispute and correct information in their consumer reports. In the last decade, the FTC has brought more than 30 actions to enforce the FCRA against consumer reporting agencies, users of consumer reports, and furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies.

The Commission also continues to educate consumers and businesses on their respective rights and obligations under the FCRA, according to the testimony. This includes publishing guidance for those who report information about consumers to consumer reporting agencies, such as Consumer Reports: What Information Furnishers Need to Know. Additionally, Credit and Your Consumer Rights provides consumers with an overview of credit, explains their legal rights, and offers practical tips to help solve credit problems.

The FTC testimony also outlined the agency’s efforts to protect consumer privacy and promote data security. The FTC has brought more than 60 law enforcement actions against companies that allegedly engaged in unreasonable data security practices. The Commission also creates and disseminates consumer education material to alert consumers about data security issues, the testimony explained. In addition, the FTC provides extensive guidance to businesses about how to protect the data in their care and understand what practices violate the laws the FTC enforces. This includes resources such as the Start with Security and Stick with Security initiatives, and the Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business.

The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 5-0.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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