Gov. Matt Blunt recently signed legislation allowing Missourians who are concerned they have been the victim of identity theft to request a security freeze on their credit reports.

"This legislation provides for more consumer protection for Missourians," Blunt said. "Identity theft and fraud is an increasing problem and an increasing concern for Missourians. The legislation I am enacting increases penalties for these con artists and greatly enhances the ability of victims to protect themselves and their credit."

House Bill 1384, sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox, allows Missourians to request a security freeze on their credit reports including victims of identity theft or anyone who believes they may have been victimized. The legislation also allows victims of identify theft to file and receive a copy of a police report on the incident. The bill also states any person who manufactures or possesses multiple fictitious or forged means of identification with the intent to distribute to others for the purpose of committing a crime will be guilty of a class C felony.

"Identity theft is a threat to all consumers and it is imperative that we give Missourians the tools they need to minimize the damage from this devastating crime. This is the most significant piece of consumer protection legislation passed this session and I thank Governor Blunt for his support on the issue and for signing it into law," Cox said.

The recently signed Senate Bill 999, sponsored by Sen. Delbert Scott, allows the attorney general to bring an action for unlawful merchandising practices when the name of a financial institution is deceptively used in Internet scams, mailings, and on mortgages. Under current state law only the financial institution whose name is used can take action.

"Con artists who prey on Missourians have resorted to the tactic of using reputable financial institutions' names in order to scam consumers," Scott said. "This new law will allow us to better protect consumers by cracking down on these deceptive practices."