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Monetary Penalties For Unauthorized Credit Reports
by: Andy Zavoina, BOL Guru

Question: Is the only $$ penalty for pulling an unauthorized credit report $1000?

Answer: Under 1681n penalties can go from actual damages with a floor of $100, up to $1000. You can also have attorney's fees and punitive damages from the court.

It can go beyond that, depending on what is done with the data. Here is a snippet of a news article related to this, that I use in training.

"Dept. of Justice Nov. 30, 2001 SACRAMENTO CA.

United States Attorney John K. Vincent announced that SUZANNE MARIE SCHELLER, 21, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. in Sacramento to a term of thirty-six months probation, in connection with obtaining confidential customer account information and providing it to another individual outside the financial institution.

...while she was a financial institution employee SCHELLER accessed the financial institution computer system and searched for potential customers for a friend who was starting a real estate business. SCHELLER admitted that she knew her unauthorized access was against the policy of the financial institution. The investigation established that some of the information provided by SCHELLER was actually used by another individual unknown to her as part of an identity theft scheme. Imposters used the customer account information to steal the identity of the customers and conduct transactions at the financial institution."

First published on 2/4/02

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