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The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Issues and Policy Options

Congress is expected to consider revisions during 2003 to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), one of the most important federal consumer protection statutes. The role of the Act in regulating the consumer credit reporting industry is described by Neal Walters in this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Brief, which also discusses a variety of issues associated with the FCRA and potential policy options for addressing these issues. The widespread and increasingly varied use of credit report data, and the dangers posed to both consumers and businesses from the emergence and spread of identity crimes are cited by the author as cause for strengthening the Act. The report finds that the effectiveness of the FCRA can be improved by including provisions designed to increase the accuracy of consumer reports, improve the dispute resolution process, prevent identity theft and assist the victims of such crimes in restoring their credit reports. (8 pages)