General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 93 Regulation of Trade and Certain Enterprises - Section 50 Definitions

Section 50. As used in this section and sections fifty-one through sixty-seven, inclusive, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Consumer”, an individual.

“Consumer report”, any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing or credit capacity which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer’s eligibility for (1) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) employment purposes, or (3) other purposes authorized under section fifty-one. The term does not include any report containing information solely as to transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report, any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device, or any report in which a person who has been requested by a third party to make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer conveys his decision with respect to such request, if the third party advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the request was made and such person makes the disclosures to the consumer required under section sixty-two.

“Consumer reporting agency”, means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.

“Employment purposes”, when used in connection with a consumer report means a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.

“File”, when used in connection with information on any consumer, means all of the information on that consumer recorded and retained by a consumer reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored.

“Firm offer of credit”, any offer of credit to a consumer that will be honored if, based on information in a consumer report on the consumer and other information relative to the creditworthiness of the consumer, the consumer is determined to meet the criteria used to select the consumer for said offer.

“Identity theft report”, a report that alleges a violation of section 37E of chapter 266, 18 United States Code, section 1028, or a similar statute in any other jurisdiction, or a copy of a report filed by a consumer with an appropriate federal, state or local law enforcement agency, and the filing of which subjects the person filing the report to criminal penalties pursuant to section 67B of chapter 266 or section 13A of chapter 269.

“Investigative consumer report”, a consumer report or portion thereof in which information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom he is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. However, such information shall not include specific factual information on a consumer’s credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.

“Lift”, to suspend a security freeze for the purpose of releasing a consumer’s credit information to a specific party or for a specified period of time, as authorized by the consumer.

“Medical information”, information or records obtained after the consent of the individual to whom it relates, from licensed physicians or medical practitioners, hospitals, clinics, or other medical or medically related facilities.

“Password” or “Personal identification number”, a unique and random number or a unique and random combination of numbers, letters or symbols, which shall not contain a consumer’s social security number or any sequence of 3 or more numbers of a consumer’s social security number, or other personal identifying information.

“Person”, means any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency, or other entity.

“Prescreening”, a process whereby a consumer reporting agency compiles or edits for a client a list of consumers who meet specific criteria and provides such list to the client or third party on behalf of the client for the purpose of making a firm offer of credit.

“Proper identification”, information sufficient to identify a person, which shall include, but not be limited to, name, address, social security number and date of birth. Such information shall not include information concerning the consumer’s employment and personal or family history unless the consumer is unable to reasonably identify himself with the information described in the preceding sentence.

“Remove”, to permanently terminate a security freeze.

“Security freeze”, a notice placed on a person’s consumer report by a consumer reporting agency, at the request of the consumer and subject to certain exceptions, which prohibits the consumer reporting agency from releasing the report or any information derived therefrom without the express authorization of the consumer.

“User”, any person seeking or obtaining a consumer report for purposes authorized in section fifty-one.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015