One of the new laws prevents consumer reporting agencies from charging Tennesseans for placing or removing a security freeze on their credit report. (Photo: MGNOnline, Petr Kratochvil)

Several new state laws mean more consumer safeguards from fraudulent business activity for Tennessee residents, officials said.

These laws are important because they give additional protections to all Tennesseans and benefit the people who are most at risk,” Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Communications Director Kevin Walters said.

The new laws that went into effect on July 1 include:

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  • A law that makes it a criminal offense to impersonate an active duty member or a veteran of a uniformed service called the Tennessee Stolen Valor Act
  • A law that allows victims of identity theft to receive a new driver’s license as long as they can prove they are a victim of identity theft
  • A law that prevents consumer reporting agencies from charging Tennesseans for placing or removing a security freeze on their credit report
  • A law that prohibits healthcare providers from using certain marketing tactics on victims of a disaster within 30 days of the disaster
  • A law that allows landlords to recover money lost from seeking out punishment for a tenant who pretended to need a service animal for a nonexistent disability

“These all have the same DNA; they’re all about protecting Tennessee consumers,” Walters said.

These laws come after a March Federal Trade Commission report that showed Tennessee as having the 10th highest fraud rate per capita in the U.S.

Walters said he also wants Tennesseans to know that they can reach out to the department to report any fraud or unfair business.

“We have to have it reported before we can do something,” he said.

Citizens who believe they have been the victim of fraud or bad business practices can report the business on the department’s website.

Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in political science. Alina has over three years of journalism experience including time spent with CNN and 2nd & Church, a magazine based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Alina at [email protected] or on Twitter @alinahuntergrah

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