Credit Rights and Responsibilities
Protect your SSN (http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs10-ssn.htm)
SSN is the most frequently used ID in the USA.
Identity theft has reached epidemic proportions
It's easy to get someone's SSN through electronic and other means.
Your SSN can be used to establish new lines of credit and bank accounts.
More information: http://www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm
Some SSN Do's and Dont's
Question anyone wanting personal information.
Make them prove to you why they want it.
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires all government agencies - federal, state and local - that request SSNs to provide a "disclosure" statement. (www.usdoj.gov/foia/privstat.htm)
Make them provide documentation as to how they will use it and why.
You cannot be denied a government benefit or service if you refuse to disclose your SSN unless the disclosure is required by federal law (www.usdoj.gov/04foia/1974ssnu.htm).
Give your SSN to private organizations and companies, UNLESS the transaction involves the IRS.
Give your SSN over the Internet.
Only with known reputable companies.
Only on secure web sites.
Read the company's Privacy Rights.
Many companies will freely give your information out to "partners".
In California, a new law restricts how certain businesses can display their customers' Social Security numbers.
Banks will no longer be able to require them over the Internet.
These provisions are found in California Civil Code 1798.85, (www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html).
Respond to unsolicited e-mail asking for ANY personal information.
More information at: www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ssn.faq.html
Consumer Reports - Consumer rights and the FCRA
FCRA is the Federal law relating to Credit Reports
Congress decided that fairness is essential to the banking system and the economy. See § 602: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra.htm#602
Permissible purposes of reports: § 604
By order of a court
By written request of the consumer to whom it relates.
To a person (corporation) that intends to use it for
Purposes of investing
Issuance of a license granted by government as required by law
Other legitimate business need such as a business transaction or account requirements.
Request by State or local child support agency.
Ability to pay child support
Paternity has been established
Ten days prior notice to consumer has been given by registered or certified mail.
The report will be kept confidential and only used for esatblishing child support
For setting a child support reward under Section 454 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 654)
Fair Debt Colletcion Practices Act (http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm)
§ 802: Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy. which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
§ 804 - 806: Communications
Debt colletor MUST ALWAYS identify themselves.
When collecting local information
Never indicate that consumer owes a debt
Not communicate more than once unless requested to do so
Not use post cards
Not indicate by any method that the person is in the debt collection business
Not communicate with any other person other than the attorney of the consumer once they know that the consumer is so represented.
No communication with third paries unless authorized by consumer or a court with jurisdiction.
Must cease communications if requested except for special circumstances.
Notify consumer of action to be taken.
Notify consumer that they will no longer contect them.
§ 806: A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
§ 807: A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.
§ 808: A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.
§ 809: Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt
the amount of the debt;
the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if differentfrom the current creditor.
§ 813: Dept collectors are civally liable in the form of monetary damages to the consumer if they break the law.
Know your rights
When in doubt, cease all communication and actions until you can verify them.
Do not trust anyone until you have verified they are legitimate
When in doubt, seek knowledgable counsel.