The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 9: Commerce and Trade

Chapter 63: CONSUMER PROTECTION

Sub-Chapter 03: Fair Credit Reporting

9 V.S.A. § 2480h. Security freeze by credit reporting agency; time in effect



§ 2480h. Security freeze by credit reporting agency; time in effect

(a) Any Vermont consumer may place a security freeze on his or her credit report. A credit reporting agency shall not charge a fee to victims of identity theft but may charge a fee of up to $10.00 to all other Vermont consumers for placing and $5.00 for removing, removing for a specific party or parties, or removing for a specific period of time after the freeze is in place a security freeze on a credit report. A consumer who has been the victim of identity theft may place a security freeze on his or her credit report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a credit 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 his or her personal information by another person. All other Vermont consumers may place a security freeze on his or her credit report by making a request in writing by certified mail to a credit reporting agency. A security freeze shall prohibit, subject to the exceptions in subsection (l) of this section, the credit reporting agency from releasing the consumer's credit report or any information from it without the express authorization of the consumer. When 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. This subsection does not prevent a 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 credit reporting agency shall place a security freeze on a consumer's credit report no later than five business days after receiving a written request from the consumer.

(c) The credit reporting agency shall send a written confirmation of the security freeze to the consumer within 10 business days and shall provide the consumer with a unique personal identification number or password, other than the customer's Social Security number, to be used by the consumer when providing authorization for the release of his or her credit for a specific party, parties, or period of time.

(d) If the consumer wishes to allow his or her credit report to be accessed for a specific party, parties, or period of time while a freeze is in place, he or she shall contact the 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 credit reporting agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

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

(e) A credit reporting agency may develop procedures involving the use of telephone, fax, the Internet, or other electronic media to receive and process a request from a consumer to temporarily lift a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section in an expedited manner.

(f) A credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall comply with the request no later than three business days after receiving the request.

(g) A 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 subsection (d) or (j) of this section.

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

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

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

(j) A security freeze shall remain in place until the consumer requests that the security freeze be removed. A credit reporting agency shall remove a security freeze within three business days of receiving a request for removal from the consumer who provides both of the following:

(1) Proper identification.

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

(k) A credit 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, including the security freeze, do not apply to the use of a consumer report by the following:

(1) A person, or the 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 section 2480e of this title. For purposes of this subdivision, "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 person acting pursuant to a court order, warrant, or subpoena.

(4) The Office of Child Support when investigating a child support case pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. et seq.) and 33 V.S.A. 4102.

(5) The Economic Services Division of the Department for Children and Families or the Department of Vermont Health Access or its agents or assignee acting to investigate welfare or Medicaid fraud.

(6) The Department of Taxes, municipal taxing authorities, or the Department of Motor Vehicles or any of their agents or assignees, acting to investigate or collect delinquent taxes or assessments, including interest and penalties, unpaid court orders, or to fulfill any of their other statutory or charter responsibilities.

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

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

(9) A credit reporting agency for the sole purpose of providing a consumer with a copy of his or her credit report upon the consumer's request.

(10) Any property and casualty insurance company for use in setting or adjusting a rate or underwriting for property and casualty insurance purposes. (Added 2003, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2005; amended 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2005, No. 211 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 4; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § I.15.)