Why would anyone want to be me?

Well maybe not “me” per se, but maybe some would like to capitalize on my good credit history. It takes time and effort to establish creditworthiness. Sadly, there are people, called ID thieves that would like to piggyback on my efforts. With some very basic information, those ID thieves, in a matter of a few hours, could open 5 to 10 accounts and charge up over $50,000 in merchandise. Moreover, I would never know until the bills staring rolling in later this month. If that would happen, it is estimated that it could take over 40 hours of my time to contact creditors and prove that I did not allow the account to be opened.

In 2007, 8.4 million people were victims of ID Theft. ID theft is causing so much concern that a group of nonprofits and national consumer advocate groups have joined together during the week of October 19 to 25 to create National Protect Your Identity Week. The initiative is designed to bring identity theft awareness and prevention programs to consumers in communities across the country. But you don’t have to wait until October to check out the movement's online resources.

Someone just might want to take away your good name and your good credit reputation so it pays to take the time to learn about how to protect your identity. Make an investment in knowledge. You have worked hard to create a good credit history, and yes, when it comes to using your good name to open account and obtain expensive goods and service, someone might want to be you!

Check back during National Protect Your Identity Week for posts about how to protect or restore your good name.

Cathy Williams is a former writer 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.