- Oklahoma Consumers Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze
As of January 1, 2007 you have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report.
A "security freeze" means that you can place hold on your credit file so that no one can get a credit report on you until you give permission.
If you place a "security freeze" on your account, you have to give permission by remembering the PIN (personal identification number) if you are trying to borrow money, too.
The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent.
A security freeze may cause problems if you apply for a new loan, credit, mortgage, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cell phone, utilities digital signature, internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit when you buy something.
What are my rights under federal law?
The federal law Title 15 USC Section 1681(g) summarizes your rights as follows:
You have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report.
This will keep a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your approval.
A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified mail.
When you place a security freeze on your credit report, you will be provided a PIN (personal identification number) or password. You have to use this password when you want to allow someone to check your credit. You will need to do this when you apply for a loan or credit card. You may have to do this when you get a cell phone or renew your cell phone contract, too.
To let a business check your credit, you must contact the credit agency. You also must give them ALL of this information:
1. The personal identification number or password;
2. Proper identification to verify your identity;
3. The amount of time you need them to make your credit report available; and,
4. You must pay them a fee, up to $10.00 (except if you are 65 years old when you first ask for a freeze or if you have been a victim of ID theft.
A credit agency must release your credit report no later than three (3) business days after receiving ALL of the above items.
A security freeze does not apply to a person or company with which you already have an account. They may request information in your credit report for the purposes of "reviewing" or collecting the account.
Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.
You have a right to sue anyone, even the credit agency who willfully or negligently fails to comply with any requirement of the Oklahoma Consumer Report Security Freeze Act.
You cannot be charged any fee if you are a victim of identity theft. But, you must give the credit agency a copy of a valid investigative or incident report or complaint with a law enforcement agency about the unlawful use of your identifying information by another person, at the time you ask them to start the "credit freeze" or ask them to allow someone to access your credit.
If you are sixty-five (65) years of age or older when you first ask for the security freeze or ask for the removal of a security freeze."
- How Do I Place a Security Freeze on my credit?
A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified mail to one of the consumer reporting agencies. You have to provide proper identification and you may have to pay a fee.
- Who are the consumer reporting agencies?
Any one of the three credit reporting agencies:
P O Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
See this link for more information from Experian: http://www.oklaw.org/link.cfm?2874
P O Box 105778
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
See this link for more information from Equifax:
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P O Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
See this link for more information from TransUnion:
- What If I Want to Apply for a Loan?
The credit agency must let you know within 10 business days, that they placed a security freeze on your credit report and give you a person identification (PIN) or password that will allow you to give access to your credit report, in case you want to apply for a credit card or loan. You can allow the release of credit information for a certain number of days after the freeze is in place.
If you want to allow your credit report to be accessed so you can apply for credit, you can ask the agency or temporarily lift the security freeze.
You must give the agency:
1- Proper identification to verify your identity;
2- The personal identification number (PIN) or password;
3- The number of days you want the report to be available; and,
4- The fee, if required.
An agency may set up any method of lifting a security freeze. The above website links will give you specific information about each different agency.
- How Long Does the Security Freeze Stay in Place?
A security freeze stays in place until you request that it be lifted.
The credit agency must allow the release of your credit report no later than three (3) business days after they get all of the above items. You have to give them the information and fee they way they ask for it.
- Does a Security Freeze apply to all my current creditors or child support collections?
A security freeze does not apply to a person or business or its affiliates, or collection agencies:
1 - which are acting on behalf of the person or business that you already have an account with if they are reviewing or collecting on the account. "Reviewing" means anything related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements;
2 - someone affiliated with someone you have granted access to for purposes of obtaining credit;
3 - state or local law enforcement agencies or courts if acting on an order;
4 - child support agencies;
5 - the state or someone acting on behalf of the state investigating fraud, overdue taxes or court fines;
6 - companies prescreening as allowed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act;
7 - credit file monitoring companies;
8 - someone you ask to provide you a copy of your credit report or score, or;
9 - an insurance underwriter.
- Is There a Fee to Start a Security Freeze or Lift the Freeze?
The agency can charge you a fee of up to $10 (ten) dollars for each freeze or removal or temporarily lifting the freeze.
The agency CANNOT charge a fee if:
1 - you are a victim of identity theft, IF you have submitted a coy of a police report;
2 - a senior who is age 65 or older for the first time a security freeze is put in place.
- What if there is a problem and I have to pay for straightening out a problem?
You have the right to bring civil action against anyone, including a consumer reporting agency who fails to comply with any requirement of the Oklahoma Consumer Report Security Freeze Act, either on purpose or by accident.
You may be able to sue and recover actual damages you had and the lawyer fees it takes to sue, as approved by a judge.
If you get a consumer report, request a security freeze or the lifting of a freeze under false pretenses or in an attempt to violate the law, YOU may be liable to the agency for their damages or $1,000.