Legislation

Search OpenLegislation Statutes
This entry was published on 2019-09-27
The selection dates indicate all change milestones for the entire volume, not just the location being viewed. Specifying a milestone date will retrieve the most recent version of the location before that date.
SECTION 380-T
Security freeze
General Business (GBS) CHAPTER 20, ARTICLE 25
§ 380-t. Security freeze. (a) A consumer may request that a security
freeze be placed on his or her consumer credit report by sending a
request in writing with confirmation of delivery requested or via
telephone, secure electronic means, or other methods developed by the
consumer credit reporting agency to a consumer credit reporting agency
at an address, telephone number or secure website designated by such
agency to receive such requests. Consumer credit reporting agencies
shall have a secure website and a separately dedicated toll-free number
to offer information, to process requests and deliver the services
provided for under this section.

(b) A consumer credit reporting agency that receives from a consumer a
request in accordance with subdivision (a) of this section shall,
provided such request is accompanied by proper identification, place a
security freeze on the consumer credit report of or relating to such
consumer no later than four business days after receiving such request,
provided further, however, that for requests received on or after
January first, two thousand nine, such consumer credit reporting agency
shall place a security freeze on the consumer credit report of or
relating to such consumer no later than three business days after
receiving such request and for requests received on or after January
first, two thousand ten, such consumer credit reporting agency shall
place a security freeze on the consumer credit report of or relating to
such consumer no later than one business day after receiving such
request. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prevent a
consumer credit reporting agency from advising a third party that a
security freeze is in effect with respect to the consumer credit report
of or relating to such consumer. No consumer credit reporting agency
shall advise in any manner a third party, of the fact that the consumer
requesting the freeze is alleging to be the victim of domestic violence
or identity theft, without the written authorization of the consumer.

(c) The consumer credit reporting agency shall send a written
confirmation of the placement of a security freeze to the consumer
within five business days of placing such freeze. Upon placing the
security freeze on the consumer credit report of or relating to such
consumer, the consumer credit reporting agency shall provide the
consumer with a unique personal identification number or password, or
other device which shall only be used by the consumer when providing
authorization for the release of his or her consumer credit report for a
specific party or specific period of time. The unique personal
identification number or password, or other device to be used by the
consumer shall not be a social security number or a sequential portion
thereof. Any use of the unique personal identification number or
password or other device other than provided for in this section is
prohibited.

(d) If the consumer wishes to allow his or her consumer credit report
to be accessed for a specific party or a specific period of time while a
freeze is in place, he or she shall contact the consumer credit
reporting agency via mail with confirmation of delivery, telephone,
secure electronic means or other method developed by such consumer
credit reporting agency pursuant to subdivision (f) of this section
using a point of contact designated by such consumer credit reporting
agency, request that the freeze be temporarily lifted, and provide the
following:

(1) proper identification;

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

(3) the proper information regarding the party to which the consumer
credit report should be available or the time period for which the
consumer credit report shall be available to users of such report.

(e) (1) A consumer credit reporting agency that receives a request
from a consumer to temporarily lift a freeze on a consumer credit report
pursuant to subdivision (d) of this section, shall comply with the
request: (i) no later than three business days after receiving such
request; (ii) as of September first, two thousand nine, a consumer
credit reporting agency that receives a request via the use of a
telephone or secure electronic method provided by the agency, pursuant
to subdivision (d) of this section, shall release a consumer's credit
report as requested by the consumer within fifteen minutes after the
request is received by the consumer credit reporting agency.

(2) A consumer credit reporting agency is not required to temporarily
lift a security freeze within the time provided in subparagraph (ii) of
paragraph one of this subdivision if:

(i) the consumer fails to meet the requirements of subdivision (b) of
this section; or

(ii) the consumer credit reporting agency's ability to temporarily
lift the security freeze within fifteen minutes is prevented by:

(A) an act of God, including fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, storms, or
similar natural disaster or phenomena;

(B) unauthorized or illegal acts by a third party, including
terrorism, sabotage, riot, vandalism, labor strikes or disputes
disrupting operations, or similar occurrence;

(C) operational interruption, including electrical failure,
unanticipated delay in equipment or replacement part delivery, computer
hardware or software failures inhibiting response time, or similar
disruption;

(D) governmental action, including emergency orders or regulations,
judicial or law enforcement action, or similar directives;

(E) regularly scheduled maintenance, during other than normal business
hours, of, or updates to, the consumer reporting agency's systems; or

(F) commercially reasonable maintenance of, or repair to, the consumer
reporting agency's systems that is unexpected or unscheduled.

(f) A consumer credit reporting agency may develop procedures
involving other secure methods of communication, including the use of
the internet, or other electronic media to receive and process a request
from a consumer to temporarily lift a freeze on a consumer credit report
pursuant to subdivision (d) of this section in an expedited manner.

(g) The department of state shall monitor the state of technology
relating to the means available to process requests for the lifting or
removal of a security freeze, and shall report to the legislature when
it is determined that the technology to process requests for the lifting
or removal of a security freeze in a shorter period of time than that
set forth in subdivision (e) of this section is available.

(h) A consumer credit reporting agency shall remove or temporarily
lift a freeze placed on the consumer credit report of or relating to a
consumer only in the following cases:

(1) upon consumer request, pursuant to subdivision (d) or (k) of this
section; or

(2) if the consumer credit report of or relating to such consumer 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 credit report pursuant to this paragraph, the consumer credit
reporting agency shall notify the consumer in writing, by first class
mail, within three business days prior to removing the freeze on such
consumer credit report.

(i) If a third party requests access to a consumer credit 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 his or her consumer credit report to be accessed for that
period of time, the third party may treat the application as incomplete.

(j) 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 such consumer credit report for a specific party or a period of
time while the freeze is in place.

(k) (1) A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer
requests, using a point of contact designated by the consumer credit
reporting agency, that the security freeze be removed and provides the
following:

(i) proper identification; and

(ii) the unique personal identification number or password or similar
device provided by the consumer credit reporting agency pursuant to
subdivision (c) of this section.

(2) A consumer credit reporting agency shall remove a security freeze
within three business days of receiving a request for removal from the
consumer pursuant to paragraph one of this subdivision.

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

(m) The provisions of this section do not apply to the use of a
consumer credit report by any of the following:

(1) a person or entity, or a subsidiary, affiliate, or agent of that
person or entity, or an assignee of a financial obligation owing by the
consumer to that person or entity, or a prospective assignee of a
financial obligation owing by the consumer to that person or entity 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 for purposes of facilitating
the extension of credit or other permissible use;

(3) any state or local agency, law enforcement agency, court, private
collection agency, or person acting pursuant to a court order, warrant,
or subpoena;

(4) a child support agency acting pursuant to title iv-d of the social
security act (42 U.S.C. et seq.);

(5) the state or its political subdivisions or its agents or assigns
acting to investigate fraud or acting to investigate or collect
delinquent taxes or unpaid court orders or to fulfill any of its other
statutory responsibilities provided such responsibilities are consistent
with a permissible purpose under 15 U.S.C. section 1681b;

(6) the use of credit information for the purposes of prescreening as
provided for by the federal fair credit reporting act;

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

(8) any person or entity for the purpose of providing a consumer with
a copy of his or her consumer credit report or score upon the request of
such consumer.

(n) No consumer credit reporting agency shall charge a fee to any
consumer for the placement of any security freeze, the removal of any
security freeze, the temporary lift of any security freeze for a
specific party or period of time, or the issuance of any replacement
personal identification number or password when the consumer fails to
retain the personal identification number or password provided to such
consumer by such consumer credit reporting agency pursuant to
subdivision (c) of this section.

(3)(i) Upon a breach of the security of the system of a consumer
credit reporting agency which includes any social security number, such
agency shall offer to each consumer, whose information, including social
security number, was breached or is reasonably believed to have been
breached, reasonable identity theft prevention services and, if
applicable, identify theft mitigation services for a period not to
exceed five years at no cost to such consumers. Such agency shall
provide all information necessary for such consumers to enroll in such
services and shall include information on how such consumers can request
a security freeze. A consumer credit reporting agency shall not be
required to offer such services if, after an appropriate investigation,
the agency reasonably determines that the breach of security is unlikely
to result in harm to the consumers whose information has been breached.

(ii) "Breach of the security of the system" as used in this paragraph
shall have the same definition as in paragraph (c) of subdivision one of
section eight hundred ninety-nine-aa of this chapter.

(o) If a security freeze is in place, a consumer credit reporting
agency shall not change any of the following official information in a
consumer credit report without sending a written confirmation of the
change to the consumer within thirty days of the change being posted to
the file of or relating to such consumer: name, date of birth, social
security number, and address. Written confirmation is not required for
technical modifications of the official information of or relating to
such consumer, 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.

(p) The following entities are not required to place a security freeze
on a consumer credit report:

(1) a consumer credit reporting agency that acts only as a reseller of
credit information by assembling and merging information contained in
the data base of another consumer credit reporting agency or multiple
consumer credit reporting agencies, and does not maintain a permanent
data base of credit information from which new consumer credit reports
are produced. However, a consumer credit reporting agency acting as a
reseller shall honor any security freeze placed on a consumer credit
report by another consumer credit reporting agency;

(2) a check services or fraud prevention services company, which
issues reports on incidents of fraud or authorizations for the purpose
of approving or processing negotiable instruments, electronic funds
transfers, or similar methods of payments; or

(3) a deposit account information service company, which issues
reports regarding account closures due to fraud, substantial overdrafts,
ATM abuse, or similar negative information regarding a consumer, to
inquiring banks or other financial institutions for use only in
reviewing a consumer request for a deposit account at the inquiring bank
or financial institution.

(q) (1) Any time a consumer credit reporting agency is required to
send a summary of rights required under 15 U.S.C. section 1681g, to a
consumer residing in this state the following notice shall be included
with such summary of rights:

"NEW YORK CONSUMERS 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
INFORMATION IN YOUR CREDIT REPORT WITHOUT YOUR EXPRESS AUTHORIZATION. A
CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY IS PROHIBITED FROM CHARGING YOU A FEE
FOR THE PLACEMENT, REMOVAL, OR TEMPORARY LIFT OF A SECURITY FREEZE, OR
FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A REPLACEMENT PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (PIN)
OR PASSWORD IN THE EVENT THAT YOU FAIL TO RETAIN THE ORIGINAL PIN OR
PASSWORD PROVIDED TO YOU BY SUCH CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY. A
SECURITY FREEZE MUST BE REQUESTED IN WRITING DELIVERY CONFIRMATION
REQUESTED OR VIA TELEPHONE, SECURE ELECTRONIC MEANS, OR OTHER METHODS
DEVELOPED BY THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY. 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,
GOVERNMENT SERVICES OR PAYMENTS, INSURANCE, 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, 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 TO A
SPECIFIC PARTY OR FOR A 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; AND

(3) THE PROPER INFORMATION REGARDING THE 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 CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY MUST AUTHORIZE THE RELEASE OF YOUR
CREDIT REPORT NO LATER THAN THREE BUSINESS DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THE
ABOVE INFORMATION. EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND NINE, A
CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY THAT RECEIVES A REQUEST VIA TELEPHONE
OR SECURE ELECTRONIC METHOD SHALL RELEASE A CONSUMER'S CREDIT REPORT
WITHIN FIFTEEN MINUTES WHEN THE REQUEST IS RECEIVED.

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
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. WHEN SEEKING CREDIT OR
PURSUING ANOTHER TRANSACTION REQUIRING ACCESS TO YOUR CREDIT REPORT, IT
IS NOT NECESSARY TO RELINQUISH YOUR PIN OR PASSWORD TO THE CREDITOR OR
BUSINESS; YOU CAN CONTACT THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY DIRECTLY.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO GIVE OUT YOUR PIN OR PASSWORD TO THE CREDITOR OR
BUSINESS, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU OBTAIN A NEW PIN OR PASSWORD FROM
THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY."

(2) If a consumer requests information about a security freeze, such
consumer shall be provided with the notice set forth in paragraph one of
this subdivision and with any other information necessary to place,
temporarily lift or permanently lift a security freeze, including but
not limited to the address, telephone number or point of contact at
which the consumer credit reporting agency receives such requests.

(r) When a consumer credit reporting agency erroneously releases a
consumer credit report subject to a security freeze or any information
contained in such consumer credit report, the consumer credit reporting
agency shall send written notification to the affected consumer within
three business days following discovery or notification of such
erroneous release. Such notification shall also inform the consumer of
the nature of the information released and identify and provide contact
information for the recipient of such information or consumer credit
report.

(s) Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, application
may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people of the
state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction by a special
proceeding to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the defendant of
not less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the continuance of such
violations; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court or
justice that the defendant has, in fact, violated this section, an
injunction may be issued by such court or justice, enjoining and
restraining any further violation, without requiring proof that any
person has, in fact, been injured or damaged thereby. In any such
proceeding, the court may make allowances to the attorney general as
provided in paragraph six of subdivision (a) of section eighty-three
hundred three of the civil practice law and rules, and direct
restitution. Whenever the court shall determine that a violation of this
section has occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more
than five thousand dollars for each violation. In connection with any
such proposed application, the attorney general is authorized to take
proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue
subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules.