Bill Text: NJ A1096 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Authorizes parent or guardian to place security freeze on child's consumer report.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 9-2)

Status: (Engrossed) 2018-05-31 - Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Commerce Committee [A1096 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-A1096-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 1096

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  MARLENE CARIDE

District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Authorizes parent or guardian to place security freeze on child's consumer report.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning consumer reports and children and amending P.L.1997, c.172 and P.L.2005, c.226.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1997, c.172 (C.56:11-30) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    As used in this act:

     "Adverse action" has the same meaning as in subsection (k) of section 603 of the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act," 15 U.S.C. s.1681a.

     "Consumer" means an individual.

     "Consumer report" (1) means any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for:

     (a)   credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes;

     (b)   employment purposes; or

     (c)   any other purpose authorized under section 4 of this act.

     (2)   The term "consumer report" does not include:

     (a)   any:

     (i)    report containing information solely on transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report;

     (ii)   communication of that information among persons related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control; or

     (iii)  communication of other information among persons related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if it is clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer that the information may be communicated among those persons and the consumer is given the opportunity, before the time that the information is initially communicated, to direct that the information not be communicated among those persons;

     (b)   any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device;

     (c)   any report in which a person, who has been requested by a third party to make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer, conveys his decision with respect to that request, if the third party advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the request was made, and the person makes the disclosures to the consumer required under 15 U.S.C. s.1681m; or

     (d)   communication excluded from the definition of consumer report pursuant to subsection (o) of section 603 of the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act," 15 U.S.C. s.1681a.

     "Consumer reporting agency" means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer reports.

     "Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     "Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     "Employment purposes" means, when used in connection with a consumer report, a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.

     "File" means, when used in connection with information on any consumer, all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.

     "Investigative consumer report" means a consumer report or a portion thereof in which information on a consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends or associates of the consumer who is the subject of the report or with others with whom the consumer is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any of those items of information.  However, this information shall not include specific factual information on a consumer's credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when the information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.

     "Medical information" means information or records obtained, with the consent of the individual to whom it relates, from licensed physicians or medical practitioners, hospitals, clinics, or other medical or medically related facilities.

     "Protected consumer" means a consumer who is under 18 years of age at the time the placement of a security freeze is requested.

     "Security freeze" means a notice placed in a consumer's or protected consumer's consumer report, at the request of the consumer or on behalf of the protected consumer and subject to certain exceptions, that prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian, but does not prevent a consumer reporting agency from advising a third party that a security freeze is in effect with respect to the consumer report.

(cf:  P.L.2005, c.226, s.4)

 

     2.    Section 5 of P.L.2005, c.226 (C.56:11-46) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    a.  A consumer may elect to place a security freeze on his consumer report, or a parent or legal guardian of a protected consumer may elect to place a security freeze on the protected consumer's consumer report, by:

     (1)   making a request in writing by certified mail or overnight mail to a consumer reporting agency; or

     (2)   making a request directly to the consumer reporting agency through a secure electronic mail connection, if an electronic mail connection is provided by the consumer reporting agency.

     In the case of a protected consumer, a parent or legal guardian shall provide a consumer reporting agency with sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer.  If the consumer reporting agency does not have any information in its files pertaining to the protected consumer at the time it receives a request pursuant to this subsection, the consumer reporting agency shall create a record for the protected consumer and place a security freeze on the record.  The record shall consist of a compilation of information created by the consumer reporting agency that identifies the protected consumer.  A consumer reporting agency shall not create or use the record to consider the protected consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.

     b.    A consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer report no later than five business days after receiving a written request from the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian.

     c.     The consumer reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian within five business days of placing the freeze and at the same time shall provide the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian with a unique personal identification number or password to be used by the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian when providing authorization for the release of his or the protected consumer's credit for a specific party or period of time.

     d.    If the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian wishes to allow his or the protected consumer's consumer report to be accessed for a specific party or period of time while a freeze is in place, [he] the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian shall contact the consumer reporting agency via certified or overnight mail or secure electronic mail and request that the freeze be temporarily lifted, and provide all of the following:

     (1)   Information generally deemed sufficient to identify a person;

     (2)   The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to subsection c. of this section; and

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

     e.     A consumer reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian to temporarily lift a freeze on a consumer report pursuant to subsection d. of this section shall comply with the request no later than three business days after receiving the request.

     f.     A consumer reporting agency shall develop procedures involving the use of telephone, fax, the Internet, or other electronic media to receive and process a request from a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian to temporarily lift a freeze on a consumer report pursuant to subsection d. of this section in an expedited manner.  The director shall promulgate regulations necessary to allow the use of electronic media to receive and process a request from a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian to temporarily lift a security freeze pursuant to subsection d. of this section as quickly as possible, with the goal of processing a request within 15 minutes of that request.

     g.    A consumer reporting agency shall remove or temporarily lift a freeze placed on a consumer report only in the following cases:

     (1)   Upon consumer request or the request of a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian, pursuant to subsection d. or j. of this section; or

     (2)   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 at least five business days prior to removing the freeze on the consumer report.

     h.    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 or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian does not allow his consumer report to be accessed for that specific party or period of time, the third party may treat the application as incomplete.

     i.     (1)  At any time that a consumer is required to receive a summary of rights required under section 609 of the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act," 15 U.S.C. s.1681g, the following notice shall be included:

New Jersey Consumers Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze

     You may obtain a security freeze on your credit report to protect your privacy and ensure that credit is not granted in your name without your knowledge.  You have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report pursuant to New Jersey law.

     The security freeze will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization or approval.

     The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent.  When you place a security freeze on your credit report, within five 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 to temporarily 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 consumer reporting agency and provide all of the following:

     (i)    The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency;

     (ii)   Proper identification to verify your identity; and

     (iii)  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 consumer reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report shall comply with the request no later than three business days or less, as provided by regulation, after receiving the request.

     A security freeze does not apply to circumstances in which you have an existing account relationship 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 own applications for credit. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze, either completely if you are shopping around, or specifically for a certain creditor, a few days before actually applying for new credit.

     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 consumer reporting agency or a user of your credit report.

     (2)   If a consumer requests information about a security freeze, he shall be provided with the notice provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection and with any other information, as prescribed by the director by regulation, about how to place, temporarily lift and permanently lift a security freeze.

     j.     (1)        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 three business days of receiving a request for removal from the consumer, who provides the following:

     [(1)] (a)      Proper identification; and

     [(2)] (b)     The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

     (2)   In the case of a protected consumer's consumer report, a security freeze shall remain in place until the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian requests that the security freeze be removed or the protected consumer reaches 18 years of age.  A consumer reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within three business days of receiving a request for removal from the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian, who provides the following:

     (a)   Proper identification and sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of the protected consumer; and

     (b)   The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

     k.    A consumer reporting agency shall require proper identification 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 report by the following:

     (1)   A person, or subsidiary, affiliate, or agent of that person, or an assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to that person, or a prospective assignee of a financial obligation owing by the consumer to that person in conjunction with the proposed purchase of the financial obligation, with which the consumer has or had prior to assignment an account or contract, including a demand deposit account, or to whom the consumer issued a negotiable instrument, for the purposes of reviewing the account or collecting the financial obligation owing for the account, contract, or negotiable instrument.  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 subsection d. of this section, 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)   The Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury for the purpose of enforcing the tax laws of this State;

     (5)   A State or local child support enforcement agency;

     (6)   The use of credit information for the purposes of prescreening as provided for by the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act," 15 U.S.C. s.1681 et seq.;

     (7)   Any person or entity administering a credit file monitoring subscription service to which the consumer has subscribed; or

     (8)   Any person or entity for the purpose of providing a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian with a copy of the consumer's or protected consumer's credit report upon the [consumer's] request of the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian.

     m.   (1) A consumer reporting agency shall not charge a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian any fee to place a security freeze on that consumer's or protected consumer's consumer report.

     (2)   A consumer reporting agency may charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed $5, to a consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian who elects to remove or temporarily lift a security freeze on that consumer's or protected consumer's consumer report. 

     (3)   A consumer or a protected consumer's parent or legal guardian may be charged a reasonable fee, not to exceed $5, if the consumer or protected consumer's parent or legal guardian fails to retain the original personal identification number provided by the consumer reporting agency and must be reissued the same or a new personal identification number.

(cf:  P.L.2005, c.226, s.5)

 

     3.    Section 6 of P.L.2005, c.226 (C.56:11-47) is amended to read as follows:

     6.    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 a written confirmation of the change to the consumer or the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian within 30 days of the change being posted to the consumer's or protected consumer's file: name; date of birth; Social Security number; or address.  Written confirmation is not required for technical modifications of a consumer's or protected consumer's official information, including name and street abbreviations, complete spellings, or transposition of numbers or letters.  In the case of an address change, the written confirmation shall be sent to both the new address and to the former address.

(cf:  P.L.2005, c.226, s.6)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month next following the date of enactment.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill authorizes a parent or legal guardian to place a security freeze on a child's consumer report.

     Specifically, the bill defines a consumer under 18 years of age as a "protected consumer."  The security freeze would prohibit a consumer reporting agency (CRA) from releasing the report or any information in it without the express authorization of the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian, thereby aiding in the prevention of child identity theft.

     Under the bill, a security freeze may be placed on a protected consumer's report at the request of the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian, in the same manner as a consumer requesting a freeze on his or her own report under the "Identity Theft Prevention Act," P.L.2005, c.226 (C.56:11-44 et al.).      A parent or legal guardian would be required to provide a CRA with sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer.  If the CRA does not have any information in its files pertaining to the protected consumer at the time it receives a request, the CRA would create a record for the protected consumer and place a security freeze on it.  The record would consist of a compilation of information created by the CRA that identifies the protected consumer.  A CRA would be prohibited from creating or using the record to consider the protected consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.

     The CRA would send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian within five business days of placing the freeze and provide her or him with a unique personal identification number or password to be used when providing authorization for the release of the protected consumer's credit for a specific party or period of time.

     The bill provides that a security freeze is to remain in place until the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian requests that the security freeze be removed or the protected consumer reaches 18 years of age.  A CRA would remove the security freeze within three business days of the request, upon receiving: (1) proper identification and sufficient proof of authority from the protected consumer's parent or legal guardian to act on behalf of the protected consumer; and (2) the unique personal identification number or password provided by the CRA.

     Under current law, a CRA is required to place a security freeze on a consumer report no later than five business days after receiving a written request, and is prohibited from charging any fee to place the security freeze on a consumer report.  A CRA is authorized to charge a reasonable fee, not to exceed $5, for removing or temporarily lifting a security freeze on that consumer report.  A person may be charged a reasonable fee, not to exceed $5, for failing to retain the original personal identification number provided by the CRA.  These provisions would remain unchanged.

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