More protection for Missourians who are victims of identity theft is on the verge of becoming state law.
Consumer’s Union estimates eight million people become victims of identity theft each year. Many victims don’t know they’re victims until the bill start rolling in for things they’ve never bought in places they’ve never been.
Missouri is about to legalize the Credit Security freeze. It keeps thieves from opening any new accounts because the creditor or seller won’t be able to check your credit file.
If you file an incident report with your local police and send a copy to the credit reporting agency, there will be no cost to putting that security freeze in place. If you don’t file police report, you can still do the freeze, but it will cost you.
Senate sponsor Michael Gibbons of Kirkwood says Missouri is late entering this game, but "this is a way for consumers to get control and protect their credit in event of identity theft."
The new law will let consumers open their credit accounts for a few minutes or a few days if someone they are directly dealing with needs to check their credit for, say, a car or home loan.
The three major credit reporting services have made freezes available voluntarily to Missourians. The bill waiting for final House action sets guidelines for requesting them and for the agencies to issue them and honor them.