Posted on August 6th, 2013 No comments
What is FACTA?
Signed into law on December 4, 2003, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) is federal legislation aimed at the prevention and penalization of consumer fraud and identity theft. Administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FACTA Disposal Rule has been in effect since June 1, 2005. The Disposal Rule puts in place requirements for proper document disposal and destruction, and recognizes the problems that can and do arise when private information is disposed of in an irresponsible manner.
Who is affected by FACTA?
FACTA applies to virtually all persons and businesses in the United States, mandating that “any person who maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information, or any compilation of consumer information, for a business purpose must properly dispose of such information by taking reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with its disposal.”
Under FACTA, consumer information is defined as personal identifying materials which extend beyond just a person’s name, including:
- a social security number
- a driver’s license number
- a phone number or e-mail address
- a physical address
To comply with the FACTA Disposal Rule, businesses and individuals must take “reasonable measures” to ensure such information does not fall into the wrong hands. Reasonable measures include the “burning, pulverizing, or shredding” of paper documents, such as the contracting of a third-party engaged in the document destruction business to dispose of confidential information in a manner consistent with the Act.
Failure to abide by FACTA may result in stiff penalties. Victims are entitled to actual damages sustained due to incompliance; they may also seek statutory damages, and, in some cases, file class-action suits. Federal and state authorities are also empowered to bring legal enforcement actions against businesses that violate the Act.