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 West Virginia 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 unique personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or to temporarily authorize the distribution of your credit report for a 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:
- The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer-reporting agency;
- Proper identification to verify your identity; and
- 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 temporarily lift a freeze on a credit report shall comply with the request no later than three business days 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 the 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.