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Posted on October 20, 2008

Money Management International (MMI), the nation’s largest nonprofit credit and debt counseling and education agency, has partnered with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and other NFCC member agencies to offer financial education in recognition of “Protect You Identity Week” (PYIW), October 19-25, 2008.

As part of a nationwide grassroots consumer education outreach, NFCC Member Agencies in more than 100 locations across the nation will conduct identity theft workshops, credit report reviews, and shredding events, in addition to providing a variety of other protection oriented education.

On October 22, 2008, MMI will host a webinar entitled “Avoid Identity Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend.” The program begins at 8pm EST and is open to the public at no cost. Those interested in learning how to protect their identity can register for the workshop by visiting MoneyManagement.org and clicking on the “Live Webinars” link on the left navigation panel.

“The holiday season is the most vulnerable time of the year for consumers to become a victim of identity theft and pickpockets,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for MMI. “In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center receives more calls about lost and stolen wallets between November and January than any other time of the year. If you become a victim, acting quickly is the key to minimizing damage,” she said.

MMI offers the following everyday tips to help keep your information safe and secure.

  • Don’t leave your wallet or statements lying around—even at home.
  • Don’t carry Social Security cards or anything with your Social Security number on it.
  • Keep track of your credit card receipts and carbons.
  • Never tell anyone your card number over the phone, unless you initiate the phone call.
  • Never allow your credit card number to be used as identification.
  • Collect your mail regularly and destroy unwanted credit solicitations.
  • Monitor your credit statements.

If you become a victim, acting quickly is the key to minimizing damage. Take these steps if you feel your identity has been stolen:

  • File a police report.
  • Immediately notify issuers of credit.
  • Contact the fraud department of each of the credit reporting agencies to place a temporary 90-day Fraud Alert on your file.
  • Monitor your credit file.
  • Contact your local state Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (877-IDTHEFT).

To learn more about MMI’s free Webinars or to find a theft prevention event near you, please visit www.ProtectYourIDNow.org.