San Diego, CA. There is a growing concern
among consumers, especially since September 11th, that their credit card
and other personal identity information will be stolen, if they make an
online purchase. In August, The National Consumers League, founded in
1899, a Washington, DC-based organization that manages the National Fraud
Information Center and Internet Fraud Watch, released the results from a
recent national telephone survey showing that 43% of consumers believe
their card numbers will be stolen.
The survey of 1,003 persons also reported that 59% of respondents believe
it's safer to pay for an online encouraging consumers to pay with their
credit cards because they can dispute any charges if something goes
wrong." The NCL's survey results are troubling because card issuers and
the card associations have spent a lot of time and money promoting how
safe it is to use credit cards for online purchases. The NCL is also
encouraging consumers to use their credit cards to make online purchases
during the upcoming holiday season despite the survey results.
The promotional effort, however, allegedly is being undermined by the news
media. "The media's stories concerning hackers stealing card numbers scare
consumers," the NCL says. "Some consumers believe if they just visit a Web
site, their card numbers will be stolen." The survey has a margin of error
of plus or minus 3%.
Now, concerned consumers may be able to purchase a theft identity rider on
their present homeowners or renters policies an annual endorsement for as
little as $25 per year, with a $15,000 coverage limit that includes
reimbursement for lost wages, phone bills or other expenses like legal
fees or new loan applications. Some insurance companies are also testing a
separate identity theft policy in about a dozen states.
Identity theft has grown more common with the advance of technology and
the trends such as the increasing use of Social Security numbers as
identification on loan or college applications. According to the Web site
"www.identitytheft.org" a crime prevention site says more that 900,000
Americans each year become new identity theft victims. U.S. Secret Service
statistics, quoted on an AARP Web site indicates consumers and
institutions lost more than $745 million dollars in 1997, the last full
year figures are available. The credit reporting agency Trans Union
reported that theft identity complaints had risen to more than 550,000
calls in 1998. Losses have been on the increase, despite two Federal laws
passed in 1998 allows victims to seek restitution for 'identifiable
losses' from the criminal, including expenses to clear one's name.
Federal and state laws say the victims aren't responsible for the
fraudulent debt they face because of identity fraud. Victims working to
clear their names, however, must spend days and weeks calling or writing
letters to credit companies or financial institutions to reestablish clean
records. The identity theft insurance coverage is intended to help insured
victims recover form the crime by reimbursing them for much, if not all of
their recovery costs.
For more information visit the ICFE's Web page at:
The site also includes helpful sections on
using credit wisely,
plus "How to set up
and implement a spending-plan" (with a one page work sheet) for personal
and/or family finances.
Money Helps" is available on the Internet free. You can
receive the same information by mail by sending $1 AND a self-addressed,
stamped (60 cents) # 10 envelope (SASE) to:
ICFE Money Helps
PO Box 34070
San Diego, CA 92163-4070
The information packet includes:
1) "15 Tips to improve spending Practices";
2) "How to set up
and implement a spending-plan";
(plus a budget worksheet) for personal and/or family finances;
to take to reduce indebtedness";
to spend smarter for household and grocery items," and a
Profile" which helps people identify dangerous spending habits.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE),
founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton - creator of the "certified
financial planner” (CFP) designation - is dedicated to helping consumers
of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit
more wisely. The years between 1984 and 2000, the ICFE was also known as
the National Center for Financial Education (NCFE).
The ICFE is a nonprofit consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. Over
one million "Credit
/ Debit Card Warning
Labels” and "Credit
/ Debit Card Sleeves” are in circulation world wide.
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much
was featured in PARADE Magazine (June 9th, 2002) in the Intelligence
Report section. The money helps and tips are from the "Money
Instruction Book," a course in personal finance, which was completely
revised and updated in 2002 and is positioned to become among the premier
programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education initiatives.
The ICFE's "Do-It-Yourself Credit File Correction
Guide," now in its Twelfth Printing, is in use by thousands of consumer credit and debt
counselors in addition to tens of thousands of consumers. It received a
"buy” rating in July, August and November from nationally syndicated
financial columnist, Humberto Cruz in his column, "The Savings Game".
BottomLine Personal newsletter gave the Guide a "Send For” rating in
September 2001. The ICFE and our do-it-yourself approach to credit file
correction was featured on NBC Nightly News on 04-30-02. The Spanish
edition of the Guide premiered in January 2002. Syndicated columnist,
Robert Heady also gave the ICFE Guide a "buy” rating.
The ICFE Web site at: www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with
mending spending, learn about the
proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a
spending-plan and also access financial education courses and videos and how to
teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a
free eNews, and an
on-line resource center of financial education
learning tools, including videos, books and personal finance courses.
Consumers may learn more on the Internet about the "Do-It-Yourself
Credit File Correction Guide" here, or fill out our request
form, indicating your areas of interest.
For more information contact Paul S. Richard ICFE Executive Director at 619-239-1401.