HB1252 (2006) Detail

Authorizing the use of a credit freeze as a means of deterring identity theft.


HB 1252 – AS INTRODUCED

2006 SESSION

06-2035

05/09

HOUSE BILL 1252

AN ACT authorizing the use of a credit freeze as a means of deterring identity theft.

SPONSORS: Rep. Villeneuve, Hills 18; Rep. Giuda, Graf 5; Rep. Mirski, Graf 10; Rep. Ulery, Hills 27; Rep. Newton, Straf 1

COMMITTEE: Commerce

ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Permits consumers to establish a “credit freeze” on their credit reports and requires credit reporting agencies to provide notice of this right.

II. Permits victims of identity theft to request copies of their credit reports.

III. Allows consumers to remove their names from credit card solicitation lists maintained by credit reporting agencies.

IV. Establishes a procedure to notify credit reporting agencies when a person is deceased.

V. Establishes a minimum penalty for negligent or willful violations of the consumer credit reporting law.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

06-2035

05/09

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six

AN ACT authorizing the use of a credit freeze as a means of deterring identity theft.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; Consumer Credit Reporting; Security Freeze. Amend RSA 359-B by inserting after section 21 the following new subdivision:

Security Freeze

359-B:22 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. “Identity theft” means the unauthorized taking or use of an individual’s personal information to obtain credit, goods, services, money, or property. In this paragraph, personal information includes, but is not limited to, an individual’s first name or initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements, when either the name or the data elements are not encrypted:

(a) Social security number.

(b) Driver’s license number.

(c) Account number, credit card number, or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account.

II. “Proper identification” means that information generally considered sufficient to identify a person.

III. “Security freeze” or “freeze” means a notice placed in a consumer report at the request of the consumer pursuant to RSA 359-B:24 that prohibits a consumer reporting agency from releasing the consumer’s report or any information in the report without that consumer’s express authorization.

359-B:23 Notice to Consumers.

I. Any time a credit reporting agency is required to make a written disclosure to consumers pursuant to 15 U.S.C. section 1681g, it shall disclose, in at least 12-point type, and in bold type as indicated, the following notice:

NOTICE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE CONSUMERS

Right to Security Freeze on Consumer Credit Report

Under New Hampshire law, you have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report pursuant to RSA 359-B:24. The security freeze will prohibit a credit reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing, by certified mail.

You may obtain a security freeze on your credit report at no charge if you are a victim of identity theft and you submit a copy of a police report, investigative report, or complaint you have filed with a law enforcement agency about unlawful use of your personal information by another person.

The credit reporting agency may charge you a fee for the security freeze if you are not a victim of identity theft.

The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gains access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding new loans, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

When you place a security freeze on your credit report, within 10 business days you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization, you must contact the credit reporting agency and provide all of the following:

(1) The unique personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting agency.

(2) Proper identification to verify your identity.

(3) The proper information regarding the third party or parties who are to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.

A credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report must comply with the request no later than 3 business days after receiving the request.

A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity with which you have an existing account that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account, provided you have previously given your consent to this use of your credit reports. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

You have a right to bring a civil action against someone who violates your rights under the credit reporting laws. The action can be brought against a credit reporting agency or a user of your credit report.

359-B:24 Security Freeze by Consumer Reporting Agency; Time in Effect.

I. A consumer may place a security freeze on the consumer’s report as follows:

(a) A consumer who has been the victim of identity theft may place a security freeze on the consumer’s report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a consumer reporting agency with a valid copy of a police report, investigative report, or complaint the consumer has filed with a law enforcement agency about unlawful use of personal information by another person. In the case of a victim of identity theft, a consumer reporting agency shall not charge a fee for placing, removing, or suspending for a specific party or period of time a security freeze on a consumer report.

(b) A consumer who has not been the victim of identity theft may place a security freeze on the consumer’s report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a consumer reporting agency. A consumer reporting agency may charge a fee of no more than $10 to a consumer for each freeze, removal of a freeze, or temporary suspension of a freeze for a period of time or for reissuing the same or a new personal identification number if the consumer fails to retain the original personal identification number provided by the agency.

II. Subject to the exceptions in paragraph XIII, when a security freeze has been placed on an account, the consumer reporting agency shall not:

(a) Release the consumer report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer; or

(b) Release information from a consumer report to a third party without express authorization of the consumer. This subparagraph shall not prevent a consumer reporting agency from advising a third party that a security freeze is in effect with respect to the consumer report.

III. A consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer report no later than 5 business days after receiving a written request from the consumer.

IV. The consumer reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer within 10 business days after placing the security freeze and shall provide the consumer with a personal identification number or password, other than the consumer’s social security number, to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the release of the consumer report to a specific party or for a period of time.

V. If the consumer wishes to allow access to the consumer report by a specific party or for a certain period of time while a freeze is in place, the consumer may contact the consumer reporting agency, request that the freeze be temporarily suspended, and provide each of the following:

(a) Proper identification.

(b) The personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to paragraph IV.

(c) The proper information regarding the specific party granted access or the time period for which the report is to be available to users.

VI. A consumer reporting agency shall maintain a 24-hour, toll-free telephone number to accept consumer requests to remove or suspend a security freeze on a consumer report. A consumer reporting agency may not charge a fee to a consumer for use of this service in excess of the fees permitted under paragraph I.

VII. A consumer reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to temporarily suspend a freeze on a consumer report pursuant to paragraph V shall comply with the request no later than 3 business days after receiving the request.

VIII. A consumer reporting agency shall remove or temporarily suspend a freeze placed on a consumer report only:

(a) Upon consumer request, pursuant to paragraph V or XI; or

(b) If the consumer report was frozen due to a material misrepresentation of fact by the consumer. If a consumer reporting agency intends to remove a freeze upon a consumer report pursuant to this paragraph, the consumer reporting agency shall notify the consumer in writing prior to removing the freeze on the consumer report.

IX. If a third party requests access to a consumer report on which a security freeze is in effect and this request is in connection with an application for credit or any other use and the consumer does not allow access to the consumer report for that specific party or period of time, the third party may treat the application as incomplete.

X. If a consumer requests a security freeze pursuant to this section, the consumer reporting agency shall disclose to the consumer the processes of placing and temporarily lifting a security freeze and the process for allowing access to information from the consumer report for a specific party or period of time while the security freeze is in place.

XI. A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer requests that the security freeze be removed. A consumer reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within 3 business days of receiving a request for removal from a consumer who provides:

(a) Proper identification; and

(b) The personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to paragraph IV.

XII. A consumer reporting agency shall require proper identification of the person making a request to place or remove a security freeze.

XIII. This section, including the security freeze, shall not apply to the use of a consumer report by the following:

(a) A person or person’s subsidiary, affiliate, agent or assignee with which the consumer has or, prior to assignment, had an account, contract or debtor-creditor relationship for the purposes of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or debt or extending credit to a consumer with a prior or existing account, contract, or debtor-creditor relationship, subject to the requirements of RSA 359-B:4. For purposes of this subparagraph, “reviewing the account” includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

(b) A subsidiary, affiliate, agent, assignee, or prospective assignee of a person to whom access has been granted under paragraph V for the purpose of facilitating the extension of credit or another permissible use.

(c) A person acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, or subpoena.

(d) Child support enforcement officials when investigating a child support case pursuant to Title 19-A or to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.

(e) The department of health and human services, the department of justice, or any of their agents or assignees, acting to investigate Medicaid fraud.

(f) The department of revenue administration, municipal taxing authorities, the secretary of state, the division of motor vehicles in the department of safety, or any of their agents or assignees, acting to investigate or collect delinquent taxes or assessments, including interest and penalties and unpaid court orders, or to fulfill any of their other statutory or charter responsibilities.

(g) A person’s use of credit information for prescreening as provided by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

(h) A person for the sole purpose of providing a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed.

(i) A consumer reporting agency for the sole purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of that consumer’s report upon the consumer’s request.

359-B:25 Duties of Consumer Reporting Agency if Security Freeze Is in Effect. If a security freeze is in place, a consumer reporting agency shall not change any of the following official information in a consumer report without sending written confirmation of the change to the consumer within 30 days of the change being posted to the consumer’s file: name, date of birth, social security number, and address. Written confirmation is not required for technical modifications of a consumer’s official information, including name and street abbreviations, complete spellings, and transposition of numbers or letters. In the case of an address change, the written confirmation shall be sent to the new address and the former address.

359-B:26 Persons Not Required to Place Security Freeze. The following persons are not required to place a security freeze on a consumer report pursuant to RSA 359-B:24, except that any person that is not required to place a security freeze on a consumer report under paragraph III is subject to a security freeze placed on a consumer report by another consumer reporting agency from which it obtains information:

I. A check services or fraud prevention services company that reports on incidents of fraud or issues authorizations for the purpose of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic fund transfers, or similar methods of payment.

II. A deposit account information service company that issues reports regarding account closures due to fraud, overdrafts, automated teller machine abuse, or similar negative information regarding a consumer to inquiring financial institutions for use only in reviewing that consumer’s request for a deposit account at the inquiring financial institution.

III. A consumer reporting agency that:

(a) Acts only to resell credit information by assembling and merging information contained in a database of one or more consumer reporting agencies; and

(b) Does not maintain a permanent database of credit information from which new consumer reports are produced.

359-B:27 Option to Remove Name from Credit Card Solicitation Lists. A consumer may elect to have his or her name removed from any list that a consumer credit reporting agency furnishes for credit card solicitations, by notifying the consumer credit reporting agency in writing or by using the toll-free number maintained pursuant to RSA 359-B:24, VI. The election shall be effective for a minimum of 2 years, unless otherwise specified by the consumer.

359-B:28 Victim of Identity Theft; Access to Credit Report. Every consumer credit reporting agency shall, upon the receipt from a victim of identity theft of a police report, investigative report, or complaint the consumer has filed with a law enforcement agency about unlawful use of personal information by another person, provide the victim, free of charge and upon request, with up to 12 copies of his or her file during a consecutive 12-month period, not to exceed one copy per month, following the date of the police report. The maximum number of free reports a victim of identity theft is entitled to obtain under this paragraph is 12 per year.

359-B:29 Credit Report Files of Deceased Persons.

I. An executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of an estate of a deceased person may request that a credit reporting agency indicate on the deceased person’s credit reporting file that the person is deceased. The credit reporting agency shall indicate on the deceased person’s credit reporting file that the person is deceased within 5 business days of receipt of the following documentation from the executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of the estate of the deceased person:

(a) A certificate of death, a certificate of appointment, letters testamentary, or other order from the probate court authorizing the executor, administrator, or other person to act on behalf of the estate of the deceased person; and

(b) A request to indicate on the deceased person’s credit reporting file that the person is deceased.

II. The credit reporting agency may remove the indication placed on the person’s file pursuant to paragraph I if the credit reporting agency finds that the indication was placed on the person’s file through material misrepresentation of fact. If the credit reporting agency intends to remove the indication pursuant to this section, the credit reporting agency shall notify the executor, administrator, or other person authorized to act on behalf of the estate in writing prior to removing the indication.

2 Consumer Credit Reporting; Civil Liability for Willful Noncompliance. Amend RSA 359-B:16, I to read as follows:

I. Any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or $2,500, whichever is greater;

3 Consumer Credit Reporting; Civil Liability for Negligent Noncompliance. Amend RSA 359-B:17, I to read as follows:

I. Any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or $2,500, whichever is greater;

4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2007.

Links

HB1252 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1252 Revision: 9530 Date: Jan. 21, 2010, midnight

Docket