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California has a reputation for being the leader in introducing new and perplexing legislation that can set the tone for over eager copy-cat legislatures in other states. It was one of the first states to pass a law allowing consumers to place a “freeze” on their credit reports.  And now, California SB 1384 (Simitian), “Consumer Reports: Security Freeze”, attempts to extend that right to other types of consumer reports.
Existing laws in most states now permit a consumer to place and to remove a security freeze on his or her credit reports with the major credit bureaus. Consumers can essentially put their credit file on lock down, usually in an attempt to avoid identity theft.  This new bill in California would authorize a consumer to place a security freeze on consumer report, potentially including background checks pulled for employment or renting housing. The proposed law would presumably extend to national tenant screening agencies, some employment screening entities, as well as other companies that maintain “consumer files” as defined in statute. The full implications of this bill are still under review, but we will keep you up-to-date as new information is available.

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