Identity theft will be one of the first issues to be debated in the Missouri House this year. It’s time to revise Shakespeare – “who steals my purse steals trash, but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.” That’s somewhat edited. But today, when people are increasingly numbers and numbers are stolen from credit card machines, or even from the trash, it is the name that does enrich the thief and does still make the victim poor indeed. Representative Jason Brown of Platte City hopes the Legislature makes identity theft a more serious crime, even for small amounts. He says present fraud laws are not enough. He says identity theft victims sometimes don’t realize they are victims for months but by the time they do, they could have credit problems that will cost them time and a lot of lawyer-payments to cure. Brown says he’s been a victim, but the amounts taken were small, and it was hard to get a prosecutor enthused about going after a small-time thief. He hopes an increase in the seriousness of the crime and the tougher penalties will make prosecutors more aggressive in chasing identity thieves. A House committee already has recommended the entire house pass the bill early in the session.
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