MO lacking in identity protection
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MO lacking in identity protection

Date: April 14, 2009
By: Christine Slusser
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 207, SB 245, HB 100, HB 314

Intro: A slew of bills from Missouri's House and Senate are trying to protect one thing: your identity. A college student found out the hard way that the state has no law requiring businesses to tell you if hackers break into your account.

Christine Slusser has more from the State Capitol.

OutCue: SOC

Mizzou student Sierra Smith says she had no idea she needed to regularly check her credit - especially when she didn't have any.

One day she decided to look at her credit score and a surprise awaited her, her identity had been stolen...three years ago. 

She says no one ever told her.


Actuality:  SMITHS1.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "It was very scary because here I am at a kind of a transitional point in my life where I need credit to be able to move forward with my life and get loans for school and such and someone had already totally tarnished my credit without my knowledge."

Smith says she doesn't know how someone stole her identity and that the person was never found.

Columbia Senator Kurt Schaefer has a bill that he says will minimize identity theft problems by making it a requirement for businesses to contact you if there has been a security breach.

Actuality:  SCHAEF1.WAV
Run Time: 00:17
Description: "I think as we rely more and more on electronic data and as hackers become more savvy, the combination there, it's a better situation now for more mischief to take place and so, therefore, consumers, to be protected, have to know when their identity has been stolen." 

Schaefer says identity theft is getting out of hand because hackers can break into large companies and steal millions of IDs.

A similar bill on identity theft comes from Representative Ed Wildberger.

He's a Democrat from St. Joseph, who sponsors a bill that would require a search warrant for anyone who wants to look at your personal information.

Actuality:  BERGER.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "People shouldn't be just given access to your accounts without having a reason to be looking at them anyway and I think the judge is a perfect person to decide whether or not the situation warrants that."

On the House side, a Jefferson County Representative presented a bill that would take Social Security numbers off public records when it involves divorce or custody. 

Democrat Belinda Harris says leaving this information on records makes it easy for identities to be stolen. 

House Judiciary Chair Bryan Stevenson says Harris' bill is too expensive and confusing for county clerks.

Actuality:  STEVEN4.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "To do all the redacting that was outlined in the legislation, it could create a tremendous amount of additional work and we are already very short staffed at our county clerks offices."

Stevenson says action needs to be taken on the federal level before states can take up the issue.

As session begins to wrap up, some bills have started working their way through the complicated legislative process.

As far as our college student Sierra Smith goes, she just wants someone, somewhere to take action.

Actuality:  SMITHS3.WAV
Run Time: 00:12
Description: "I just got a call the other day, someone called me to ask when I wanted to start making my payments on my 2005 Nissan Maxima, and I don't own one, never have."

From the State Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.