Respondents feel at risk for ID Theft

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s (NFCC) September web poll testing people’s attitudes toward identity theft revealed that 66 percent of more than 1,300 respondents feel at risk for identity theft.

In recent years, identity theft has claimed more than 10 million victims per year, and has been the top complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for the last five years in a row. ID theft is alive and well, and anyone who doesn’t think so is putting themselves at risk of being the next victim.

Of concern are the more than 30 percent of respondents who believe identity theft is declining or think they are immune because they’ve put one safety tip in place. These people are in definite need of education around identity theft protection.

To help meet that need, the NFCC and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) have joined together to host Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW) October 17-23. Close to 200 events are being held in communities nationwide, including free shredding, educational workshops, credit report reviews, and responsible cell phone recycling. Consumers can locate an event near them by going to the map at www.ProtectYourIDNow.org.

Additionally, the site is a resource for prevention tips, victim recovery tips, and includes the Identity Theft Risk Check quiz where individuals can assess their own personal risk of identity theft.

As part of Protect Your Identity Week, Cintas Corporation, national shredding partner for PYIW, is providing free document destruction at events across the country with the goal of making the Guinness Book of World Records for the most paper shredded in a 24-hour period. -more- Intersections, Inc., a leader in consumer and corporate identity theft management services that also provides the award-winning Identity Guard® brand, is a presenting sponsor of Protect Your Identity Week, and the Wireless Alliance, national electronic device recycling partner, is providing free cell phone disposal at many community events.

A number of national organizations are also putting their weight behind this initiative, joining the NFCC and BBB as Supporting PYIW Coalition Members. This Coalition includes: American Bankers Association Education Foundation, American Financial Services Association Education Foundation, American Payroll Association, Consumer Action, Consumer Data Industry Association, Consumer Federation of America, Credit Union National Association, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, FICO, Foundation for Financial Planning, Identity Theft Assistance Center, Identity Theft Resource Center, Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, National Association of Triads, National Council of La Raza, National Crime Prevention Council, National Education Association Member Benefits, National Sheriffs’ Association, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Social Security Administration.

The actual survey question and results are as follows:

Q: I don't think I'm at risk of being a victim of identity theft because

A. Identity theft is on the decline = 1%

B. My credit card company has systems in place that protect me = 9%

C. I don't carry my Social Security card in my wallet = 10%

D. I never open emails from unknown sources = 15% E. I do think I am at risk of ID theft = 66%

Note:  Money Management International is a member of the NFCC.  The NFCC’s September Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site (www.DebtAdvice.org) from September 1-30, 2010 and answered by 1,352 individuals.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.