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Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act

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604. Permissible purposes of consumer reports [15 U.S.C.  1681b]

(a) In general. Subject to subsection (c), any consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:

(1) In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.
 
(2) In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.
 
(3) To a person which it has reason to believe
 
(A) intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or
 
(B) intends to use the information for employment purposes; or
 
(C) intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer; or
 
(D) intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer's eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant's financial responsibility or status; or
 
(E) intends to use the information, as a potential investor or servicer, or current insurer, in connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation; or
 
(F) otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information
 
(i) in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or
 
(ii) to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.
(4) In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency), if the person making the request certifies to the consumer reporting agency that
 
(A) the consumer report is needed for the purpose of establishing an individual's capacity to make child support payments or determining the appropriate level of such payments;
 
(B) the paternity of the consumer for the child to which the obligation relates has been established or acknowledged by the consumer in accordance with State laws under which the obligation arises (if required by those laws);
 
(C) the person has provided at least 10 days' prior notice to the consumer whose report is requested, by certified or registered mail to the last known address of the consumer, that the report will be requested; and
 
(D) the consumer report will be kept confidential, will be used solely for a purpose described in subparagraph (A), and will not be used in connection with any other civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding, or for any other purpose.
(5) To an agency administering a State plan under Section 454 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.  654) for use to set an initial or modified child support award.

(b) Conditions for furnishing and using consumer reports for employment purposes.

(1) Certification from user. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report for employment purposes only if
 
(A) the person who obtains such report from the agency certifies to the agency that
 
(i) the person has complied with paragraph (2) with respect to the consumer report, and the person will comply with paragraph (3) with respect to the consumer report if paragraph (3) becomes applicable; and
 
(ii) information from the consumer report will not be used in violation of any applicable Federal or State equal employment opportunity law or regulation; and
(B) the consumer reporting agency provides with the report a summary of the consumer's rights under this title, as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3) [ 1681g].
(2) Disclosure to consumer. A person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless
 
(A) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and
 
(B) the consumer has authorized in writing the procurement of the report by that person.
(3) Conditions on use for adverse actions. In using a consumer report for employment purposes, before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the report, the person intending to take such adverse action shall provide to the consumer to whom the report relates
 
(A) a copy of the report; and
 
(B) a description in writing of the rights of the consumer under this title, as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3) [ 1681g].

(c) Furnishing reports in connection with credit or insurance transactions that are not initiated by the consumer.

(1) In general. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report relating to any consumer pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) of subsection (a)(3) in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer only if
 
(A) the consumer authorizes the agency to provide such report to such person; or
 
(B) (i) the transaction consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance;
 
(ii) the consumer reporting agency has complied with subsection (e); and
 
(iii) there is not in effect an election by the consumer, made in accordance with subsection (e), to have the consumer's name and address excluded from lists of names provided by the agency pursuant to this paragraph.
(2) Limits on information received under paragraph (1)(B). A person may receive pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) only
 
(A) the name and address of a consumer;
 
(B) an identifier that is not unique to the consumer and that is used by the person solely for the purpose of verifying the identity of the consumer; and
 
(C) other information pertaining to a consumer that does not identify the relationship or experience of the consumer with respect to a particular creditor or other entity.
(3) Information regarding inquiries. Except as provided in section 609(a)(5) [ 1681g], a consumer reporting agency shall not furnish to any person a record of inquiries in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by a consumer.

(d) Reserved.

(e) Election of consumer to be excluded from lists.

(1) In general. A consumer may elect to have the consumer's name and address excluded from any list provided by a consumer reporting agency under subsection (c)(1)(B) in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer, by notifying the agency in accordance with paragraph (2) that the consumer does not consent to any use of a consumer report relating to the consumer in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer.
 
(2) Manner of notification. A consumer shall notify a consumer reporting agency under paragraph (1)
 
(A) through the notification system maintained by the agency under paragraph (5); or
 
(B) by submitting to the agency a signed notice of election form issued by the agency for purposes of this subparagraph.
(3) Response of agency after notification through system. Upon receipt of notification of the election of a consumer under paragraph (1) through the notification system maintained by the agency under paragraph (5), a consumer reporting agency shall
 
(A) inform the consumer that the election is effective only for the 2-year period following the election if the consumer does not submit to the agency a signed notice of election form issued by the agency for purposes of paragraph (2)(B); and
 
(B) provide to the consumer a notice of election form, if requested by the consumer, not later than 5 business days after receipt of the notification of the election through the system established under paragraph (5), in the case of a request made at the time the consumer provides notification through the system.
(4) Effectiveness of election. An election of a consumer under paragraph (1)
 
(A) shall be effective with respect to a consumer reporting agency beginning 5 business days after the date on which the consumer notifies the agency in accordance with paragraph (2);
 
(B) shall be effective with respect to a consumer reporting agency
 
(i) subject to subparagraph (C), during the 2-year period beginning 5 business days after the date on which the consumer notifies the agency of the election, in the case of an election for which a consumer notifies the agency only in accordance with paragraph (2)(A); or
 
(ii) until the consumer notifies the agency under subparagraph (C), in the case of an election for which a consumer notifies the agency in accordance with paragraph (2)(B);
(C) shall not be effective after the date on which the consumer notifies the agency, through the notification system established by the agency under paragraph (5), that the election is no longer effective; and
 
(D) shall be effective with respect to each affiliate of the agency.
(5) Notification system.
 
(A) In general. Each consumer reporting agency that, under subsection (c)(1)(B), furnishes a consumer report in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by a consumer, shall
 
(i) establish and maintain a notification system, including a toll-free telephone number, which permits any consumer whose consumer report is maintained by the agency to notify the agency, with appropriate identification, of the consumer's election to have the consumer's name and address excluded from any such list of names and addresses provided by the agency for such a transaction; and
 
(ii) publish by not later than 365 days after the date of enactment of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996, and not less than annually thereafter, in a publication of general circulation in the area served by the agency
 
(I) a notification that information in consumer files maintained by the agency may be used in connection with such transactions; and
 
(II) the address and toll-free telephone number for consumers to use to notify the agency of the consumer's election under clause (i).
(B) Establishment and maintenance as compliance. Establishment and maintenance of a notification system (including a toll-free telephone number) and publication by a consumer reporting agency on the agency's own behalf and on behalf of any of its affiliates in accordance with this paragraph is deemed to be compliance with this paragraph by each of those affiliates.
 
(6) Notification system by agencies that operate nationwide. Each consumer reporting agency that compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis shall establish and maintain a notification system for purposes of paragraph (5) jointly with other such consumer reporting agencies.

(f) Certain use or obtaining of information prohibited. A person shall not use or obtain a consumer report for any purpose unless

(1) the consumer report is obtained for a purpose for which the consumer report is authorized to be furnished under this section; and
 
(2) the purpose is certified in accordance with section 607 [ 1681e] by a prospective user of the report through a general or specific certification.

(g) Furnishing reports containing medical information. A consumer reporting agency shall not furnish for employment purposes, or in connection with a credit or insurance transaction or a direct marketing transaction, a consumer report that contains medical information about a consumer, unless the consumer consents to the furnishing of the report.

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