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SB-823 Consumer credit reports: security freezes.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/13/2018 04:00 AM
SB823:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 12, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  March 05, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 823


Introduced by Senator Hill
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Limón)
(Coauthors: Senators Galgiani and Wieckowski)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chen, Irwin, Kiley, Low, and Mark Stone)

January 03, 2018


An act to amend Sections 1785.11.2 and 1785.15 of the Civil Code, relating to consumer credit reports.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 823, as amended, Hill. Consumer credit reports: security freezes.
Existing state law defines and regulates consumer credit reports and permits a consumer to place a security freeze on his or her credit report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a consumer credit reporting agency. Existing law requires a consumer credit reporting agency to place a security freeze on a consumer’s credit report no later than three 3 business days after receiving a written request from the consumer.
This bill would authorize the request to place a security freeze to be made via an Internet Web site or mobile software application. The bill would require a consumer credit reporting agency to initiate placement placement, or the temporary lift or removal, of the freeze with other consumer credit reporting agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis, unless the consumer elects not to have the security freeze applied to other credit reporting agencies. The bill would require a consumer credit reporting agency to have a prominent link on the homepage of its Internet Web site and its mobile software application titled “Freeze or Unfreeze Your Credit” though through which a consumer can request placement, temporary lift, or removal of a freeze placed on the consumer’s credit report. The bill would require a consumer credit reporting agency to place, temporarily lift, or remove a security freeze received in writing by mail within one business day after having received the request, or, if received or via an Internet Web site or mobile software application, within 15 minutes after receiving the request.
Existing law permits a consumer credit reporting agency to charge a fee of no more than $10 to a consumer for the placement of a freeze, the removal of the freeze, the temporary lift of the freeze for a period of time, or the temporary lift of the freeze for a specific party, regarding access to a consumer credit report, except as specified.
This bill would prohibit a consumer credit reporting agency from charging these fees. The bill would also make other conforming changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1785.11.2 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1785.11.2.
 (a) (1) A consumer may elect to place a security freeze on his or her credit report by making a request in writing by mail or via an Internet Web site or mobile software application to a consumer credit reporting agency. “Security freeze” means a notice placed in a consumer’s credit report, at the request of the consumer, and subject to certain exceptions, that prohibits the consumer credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer’s credit report or any information from it, without the express authorization of the consumer. If a security freeze is in place, information from a consumer’s credit report shall not be released to a third party without prior express authorization from the consumer.
(2) If a consumer requests that a security freeze be placed on his or her credit report by a consumer credit reporting agency, the consumer credit reporting agency shall initiate placement of the freeze with other consumer credit reporting agencies that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis, unless the consumer elects not to have the security freeze applied to other credit reporting agencies. A consumer credit reporting agency shall not charge a fee to a consumer who selects this option.
(3)  This subdivision does not prevent a consumer credit reporting agency from advising a third party that a security freeze is in effect with respect to the consumer’s credit report.
(b) A consumer credit reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer’s credit report no later than one business day after receiving a written request from another consumer credit reporting agency or the consumer by mail, or no later than 15 minutes after receiving a request from another credit reporting agency or from the consumer via an Internet Web site or mobile software application.
(c) The consumer credit reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer within 10 business days after receiving a request from the consumer or another consumer credit reporting agency and shall provide the consumer with a unique personal identification number or password to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the release of his or her credit for a specific party or period of time. If a consumer elects to have the consumer credit reporting agency initiate security freezes at other agencies pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), only the consumer credit reporting agency in contact with the consumer shall be required to provide a unique personal identification number or password.
(d) If the consumer wishes to allow his or her credit report to be accessed for a specific party or period of time while a freeze is in place, he or she shall contact the consumer credit reporting agency, that he or she requested place the security freeze pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), request that the freeze be temporarily lifted at one or all consumer credit reporting agencies, and provide the following:
(1) Proper identification, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1785.15.
(2) The unique personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subdivision (c).
(3) The proper information regarding the third party who is to receive the credit report or the time period for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.
(e) A consumer credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer or another credit reporting agency to temporarily lift a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subdivision (d) shall comply with the request no later than one business day after receiving the request by mail, or within 15 minutes after receiving the request via an Internet Web site or mobile software application.
(f) A consumer credit reporting agency shall have a prominent link on the homepage of its Internet Web site and its mobile software application titled “Freeze or Unfreeze Your Credit” though through which a consumer can request placement, temporary lift, or removal of a freeze placed on the consumer’s credit report.
(g) A consumer credit reporting agency shall remove or temporarily lift a freeze placed on a consumer’s credit report only in the following cases:
(1) Upon consumer request, pursuant to subdivision (d) or (j).
(2) If the consumer’s credit report was frozen due to a material misrepresentation of fact by the consumer. If a consumer credit reporting agency intends to remove a freeze upon a consumer’s credit report pursuant to this paragraph, the consumer credit reporting agency shall notify the consumer in writing prior to removing the freeze on the consumer’s credit report.
(h) A third party who requests access to a consumer credit report in connection with an application for credit or any other use may treat the application as incomplete if a security freeze is in effect and the consumer does not allow his or her credit report to be accessed for that specific party or period of time.
(i) If a consumer requests a security freeze, the consumer credit reporting agency shall disclose the process of placing and temporarily lifting a freeze and the process for allowing access to information from the consumer’s credit report for a specific party or period of time while the freeze is in place.
(j) A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer requests that the security freeze be removed. A consumer credit reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within one business day of receiving a request for removal from the consumer or from another consumer credit reporting agency in writing via mail, or within 15 minutes of receiving a request for removal from another consumer credit reporting agency or from the consumer via an Internet Web site or mobile software application if the consumer provides both of the following to the consumer credit reporting agency from which he or she requested placement of the security freeze pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a):
(1) Proper identification, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1785.15.
(2) The unique personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting agency pursuant to subdivision (c).
(k) A consumer credit reporting agency shall require proper identification, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1785.15, of the person making a request to place or remove a security freeze.
(l) The provisions of this section do not apply to the use of a consumer credit report by any of the following:
(1) (A) (i) A person or entity with which the consumer has or had, prior to any assignment, an account or contract, including a demand deposit account, or to which the consumer issued a negotiable instrument, for the purpose of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or negotiable instrument.
(ii) A subsidiary, affiliate, or agent of a person or entity described in clause (i), an assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to such a person or entity, or a prospective assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to such a person or entity in conjunction with the proposed purchase of the financial obligation, for the purpose of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or negotiable instrument.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “reviewing the account” includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.
(2) A subsidiary, affiliate, agent, assignee, or prospective assignee of a person to whom access has been granted under subdivision (d) for purposes of facilitating the extension of credit or other permissible use.
(3) Any state or local agency, law enforcement agency, trial court, or private collection agency acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, or subpoena.
(4) A child support agency acting pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 17400) of Division 17 of the Family Code or Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. et seq.).
(5) The State Department of Health Care Services or its agents or assigns acting to investigate Medi-Cal fraud.
(6) The Franchise Tax Board or its agents or assigns acting to investigate or collect delinquent taxes or unpaid court orders or to fulfill any of its other statutory responsibilities.
(7) The use of credit information for the purposes of prescreening as provided for by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
(8) Any person or entity administering a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed.
(9) Any person or entity for the purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer’s request.
(m) A consumer credit reporting agency shall not charge a fee to a consumer for the placement of a freeze, the removal of the freeze, the temporary lift of the freeze for a period of time, or the temporary lift of the freeze for a specific party, regarding access to a consumer credit report.
(n) Regardless of the existence of a security freeze, a consumer reporting agency may disclose public record information lawfully obtained by, or for, the consumer reporting agency from an open public record to the extent otherwise permitted by law. This subdivision does not prohibit a consumer reporting agency from electing to apply a valid security freeze to the entire contents of a credit report.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1785.15 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1785.15.
 (a) A consumer credit reporting agency shall supply files and information required under Section 1785.10 during normal business hours and on reasonable notice. In addition to the disclosure provided by this chapter and any disclosures received by the consumer, the consumer has the right to request and receive all of the following:
(1) Either a decoded written version of the file or a written copy of the file, including all information in the file at the time of the request, with an explanation of any code used.
(2) A credit score for the consumer, the key factors, and the related information, as defined in and required by Section 1785.15.1.
(3) A record of all inquiries, by recipient, that result in the provision of information concerning the consumer in connection with a credit transaction not initiated by the consumer and that were received by the consumer credit reporting agency in the 12-month period immediately preceding the request for disclosure under this section.
(4) The recipients, including end users specified in Section 1785.22, of any consumer credit report on the consumer which the consumer credit reporting agency has furnished:
(A) For employment purposes within the two-year period preceding the request.
(B) For any other purpose within the 12-month period preceding the request.
Identification for purposes of this paragraph shall include the name of the recipient or, if applicable, the fictitious business name under which the recipient does business disclosed in full. If requested by the consumer, the identification shall also include the address of the recipient.
(b) Files maintained on a consumer shall be disclosed promptly as follows:
(1) In person, at the location where the consumer credit reporting agency maintains the trained personnel required by subdivision (d), if he or she appears in person and furnishes proper identification.
(2) By mail, if the consumer makes a written request with proper identification for a copy of the file or a decoded written version of that file to be sent to the consumer at a specified address. A disclosure pursuant to this paragraph shall be deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, within five business days after the consumer’s written request for the disclosure is received by the consumer credit reporting agency. Consumer credit reporting agencies complying with requests for mailings under this section shall not be liable for disclosures to third parties caused by mishandling of mail after the mailings leave the consumer credit reporting agencies.
(3) A summary of all information contained in files on a consumer and required to be provided by Section 1785.10 shall be provided by telephone, if the consumer has made a written request, with proper identification for telephone disclosure.
(4) Information in a consumer’s file required to be provided in writing under this section may also be disclosed in another form if authorized by the consumer and if available from the consumer credit reporting agency. For this purpose, a consumer may request disclosure in person pursuant to Section 1785.10, by telephone upon disclosure of proper identification by the consumer, by electronic means if available from the consumer credit reporting agency, or by any other reasonable means that is available from the consumer credit reporting agency.
(c) “Proper identification,” as used in subdivision (b) means that information generally deemed sufficient to identify a person. Only if the consumer is unable to reasonably identify himself or herself with the information described above may a consumer credit reporting agency require additional information concerning the consumer’s employment and personal or family history in order to verify his or her identity.
(d) The consumer credit reporting agency shall provide trained personnel to explain to the consumer any information furnished to him or her pursuant to Section 1785.10.
(e) The consumer shall be permitted to be accompanied by one other person of his or her choosing, who shall furnish reasonable identification. A consumer credit reporting agency may require the consumer to furnish a written statement granting permission to the consumer credit reporting agency to discuss the consumer’s file in that person’s presence.
(f) Any written disclosure by a consumer credit reporting agency to any consumer pursuant to this section shall include a written summary of all rights the consumer has under this title and, in the case of a consumer credit reporting agency that compiles and maintains consumer credit reports on a nationwide basis, a toll-free telephone number that the consumer can use to communicate with the consumer credit reporting agency. The written summary of rights required under this subdivision is sufficient if in substantially the following form:

“You have a right to obtain a copy of your credit file from a consumer credit reporting agency. You may be charged a reasonable fee not exceeding eight dollars ($8). There is no fee, however, if you have been turned down for credit, employment, insurance, or a rental dwelling because of information in your credit report within the preceding 60 days. The consumer credit reporting agency must provide someone to help you interpret the information in your credit file.
You have a right to dispute inaccurate information by contacting the consumer credit reporting agency directly. However, neither you nor any credit repair company or credit service organization has the right to have accurate, current, and verifiable information removed from your credit report. Under the Federal federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the consumer credit reporting agency must remove accurate, negative information from your report only if it is over seven years old. Bankruptcy information can be reported for 10 years.
If you have notified a consumer credit reporting agency in writing that you dispute the accuracy of information in your file, the consumer credit reporting agency must then, within 30 business days, reinvestigate and modify or remove inaccurate information. The consumer credit reporting agency may not charge a fee for this service. Any pertinent information and copies of all documents you have concerning an error should be given to the consumer credit reporting agency.
If reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, you may send a brief statement to the consumer credit reporting agency to keep in your file, explaining why you think the record is inaccurate. The consumer credit reporting agency must include your statement about disputed information in a report it issues about you.
You have a right to receive a record of all inquiries relating to a credit transaction initiated in 12 months preceding your request. This record shall include the recipients of any consumer credit report.
You may request in writing that the information contained in your file not be provided to a third party for marketing purposes.
You have a right to place a “security alert” in your credit report, which will warn anyone who receives information in your credit report that your identity may have been used without your consent. Recipients of your credit report are required to take reasonable steps, including contacting you at the telephone number you may provide with your security alert, to verify your identity prior to lending money, extending credit, or completing the purchase, lease, or rental of goods or services. The security alert may prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that taking advantage of this right may delay or interfere with the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or cellular phone or other new account, including an extension of credit at point of sale. If you place a security alert on your credit report, you have a right to obtain a free copy of your credit report at the time the 90-day security alert period expires. A security alert may be requested by calling the following toll-free telephone number: (Insert applicable toll-free telephone number). California consumers also have the right to obtain a “security freeze.”

You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer credit reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by mail. 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 gets 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 a new loan, credit, mortgage, or cellular phone or other new account, including an extension of credit at point of sale. When you place a security freeze on your credit report, 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 or period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization you must contact the consumer credit reporting agency and provide all of the following:
(1) The personal identification number or password.
(2) Proper identification to verify your identity.
(3) The proper information regarding the third party who is to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.
A consumer credit reporting agency must authorize the release of your credit report no later than three business days after receiving the above information.
A security freeze does not apply when you have an existing account and a copy of your report is requested by your existing creditor or its agents or affiliates for certain types of account review, collection, fraud control, or similar activities.
If you are actively seeking credit, you should understand that the procedures involved in lifting a security freeze may slow your application for credit. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze, either completely if you are shopping around, or specifically for a certain creditor, before applying for new credit.
A consumer credit reporting agency may not charge a fee to a consumer for placing, lifting, removing, or replacing a security freeze.
You have a right to bring civil action against anyone, including a consumer credit reporting agency, who improperly obtains access to a file, knowingly or willfully misuses file data, or fails to correct inaccurate file data.
If you are a victim of identity theft and provide to a consumer credit reporting agency a copy of a valid police report or a valid investigative report made by a Department of Motor Vehicles investigator with peace officer status describing your circumstances, the following shall apply:
(1) You have a right to have any information you list on the report as allegedly fraudulent promptly blocked so that the information cannot be reported. The information will be unblocked only if (A) the information you provide is a material misrepresentation of the facts, (B) you agree that the information is blocked in error, or (C) you knowingly obtained possession of goods, services, or moneys as a result of the blocked transactions. If blocked information is unblocked, you will be promptly notified.
(2) You have a right to receive, free of charge and upon request, one copy of your credit report each month for up to 12 consecutive months.”