The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the primary enforcer of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rang in the new year by issuing new forms for users of consumer reports. Copies of the forms that went into effect as of January 1, 2013 are available here. The new forms are primarily a matter of bureaucratic housekeeping that reflect the transfer of responsibility for interpreting the FCRA from the Federal Trade Commission to the CFPB. However, given recent private1 and public2 enforcement actions and the penalties of up to $1,000 per violation in addition to potential punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, employers should review their compliance obligations.
The FCRA regulates the collection and use of “consumer reports,” which are broadly defined to include “any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for,” among other things, employment purposes.
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