(A) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Protected consumer" means an individual who is:

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 37-20-161

  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC

(a) under the age of sixteen years at the time a request for the placement of a security freeze is made; or

(b) an incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed.

(2) "Record" means a compilation of information that:

(a) identifies a protected consumer;

(b) is created by a consumer reporting agency solely for the purpose of complying with this section; and

(c) may not be created or used to consider the protected consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living for any purpose listed in Section 37-20-110(3).

(3) "Representative" means a person who provides to a consumer reporting agency sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer.

(4) "Security freeze" means:

(a) if a consumer reporting agency does not have a file pertaining to a protected consumer, a restriction that:

(i) is placed on the protected consumer’s record in accordance with this section; and

(ii) prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the protected consumer’s record except as provided in this section; or

(b) if a consumer reporting agency has a file pertaining to the protected consumer, a restriction that:

(i) is placed on the protected consumer’s consumer report in accordance with this section; and

(ii) prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the protected consumer’s consumer report or any information derived from the protected consumer’s consumer report except as provided in this section.

(5) "Sufficient proof of authority" means documentation that shows a representative has authority to act on behalf of a protected consumer and includes:

(a) an order issued by a court of law;

(b) a lawfully executed and valid power of attorney; or

(c) a written, notarized statement signed by a representative that expressly describes the authority of the representative to act on behalf of a protected consumer.

(6) "Sufficient proof of identification" means information or documentation that identifies a protected consumer or a representative of a protected consumer and includes:

(a) a social security number or a copy of a social security card issued by the social security administration;

(b) a certified or official copy of a birth certificate issued by the entity authorized to issue the birth certificate; or

(c) a copy of a driver’s license, an identification card issued by the motor vehicle administration, or any other government-issued identification.

(B) This section does not apply to the use of a protected consumer’s consumer report or record by a person specified in Section 37-20-160(K) or (L).

(C)(1) A consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze for a protected consumer if:

(a) the consumer reporting agency receives a request from the protected consumer’s representative for the placement of the security freeze under this section; and

(b) the protected consumer’s representative:

(i) submits the request to the consumer reporting agency at the address or other point of contact and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency;

(ii) provides to the consumer reporting agency sufficient proof of identification of the protected consumer and the representative; and

(iii) provides to the consumer reporting agency sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of the protected consumer;

(2) if a consumer reporting agency does not have a file pertaining to a protected consumer when the consumer reporting agency receives a request under item (1), the consumer reporting agency shall create a record for the protected consumer.

(D) Within thirty days after receiving a request that meets the requirements of item (1), a consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze for the protected consumer.

(E) Unless a security freeze for a protected consumer is removed in accordance with subsection (G) or (I), a consumer reporting agency may not release the protected consumer’s consumer report, any information derived from the protected consumer’s consumer report, or any record created for the protected consumer.

(F) A security freeze for a protected consumer placed under subsection (D) shall remain in effect until:

(1) the protected consumer or the protected consumer’s representative requests the consumer reporting agency to remove the security freeze in accordance with subsection (G) of this section; or

(2) the security freeze is removed in accordance with subsection (I).

(G) If a protected consumer or a protected consumer’s representative wishes to remove a security freeze for the protected consumer, the protected consumer or the protected consumer’s representative shall:

(1) submit a request for the removal of the security freeze to the consumer reporting agency at the address or other point of contact and in the manner specified by the consumer reporting agency; and

(2) provide to the consumer reporting agency:

(a) in the case of a request by the protected consumer:

(i) sufficient proof of authority for the protected consumer’s representative to act on behalf of the protected consumer is no longer valid; and

(ii) sufficient proof of identification of the protected consumer; or

(b) in the case of a request by the representative of a protected consumer:

(i) sufficient proof of identification of the protected consumer and the representative; and

(ii) sufficient proof of authority to act on behalf of the protected consumer.

(H) Within fifteen days after receiving a request that meets the requirements of subsection (G), the consumer reporting agency shall remove the security freeze for the protected consumer.

(I) A consumer reporting agency may remove a security freeze for a protected consumer or delete a record of a protected consumer if the security freeze was placed or the record was created based on a material misrepresentation of fact by the protected consumer or the protected consumer’s representative.

(J) A consumer reporting agency must not charge a fee to place a security freeze for a protected consumer. If the protected consumer does not already have a consumer credit file, and the consumer reporting agency must create one in order to place the security freeze, the consumer reporting agency must not charge a fee to create a consumer credit file in order to place the security freeze.