Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rep. Grill's Legislation to Protect Missourians from Identity Theft Goes to Governor for Final Approval

Jefferson City – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Jason Grill that would provide additional help to Missourians victimized by the crime of identity theft is now one step away from becoming law. Rep. Grill's original piece of legislation (HB 2157) was combined with another bill (HB 1384) and given bipartisan approval in both chambers of the legislature this week.

Rep. Grill's legislation provides identity theft victims with the right to contact the local law enforcement agency where they live and request that an incident report about the identity theft be prepared and filed. The victim may also request to receive a copy of the report. Rep. Grill said the bill is necessary to give Missourians a clear process to follow that will assist in dealing with the financial mess that can result from a case of identity theft.

"Victims of identity theft are left with a confusing process and far too many questions on how best to proceed to protect their money and credit rating. It's important that we involve local law enforcement in the process and give identity theft victims access to an official police report that is so often necessary for credit card companies who want to verify that identity theft actually occurred," said Rep. Grill. "This was truly a bipartisan effort and something that Missourians needed in order to provide adequate protection from the growing crime of identity theft, which affects 8 million new victims each year."

The final version of legislation includes many other important provisions dealing with the crime of identity theft. The bill makes it a Class C felony for anyone who manufactures or possesses five or more fictitious or forged means of identity with the intent to distribute to others for the purpose of committing a crime. It also allows a consumer to request a "security freeze" be placed on his or her credit report. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to "freeze" or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name. The freeze also prohibits credit reporting agencies from releasing the consumer's credit report or credit score without specific authorization from the consumer. "These additions to the original bill make this legislation even stronger and will give the citizens of Missouri more tools to guard themselves against the crime of identity theft, "said Rep. Grill

The legislation now moves to governor's desk to be signed into law.