San Diego, CA. An estimated 60
percent of identity theft victims, over the past few
years, did not find out they were a victim until they sat
down with a qualified reviewer of credit reports or looked
at them on their own or were contacted by a creditor about
a delinquent account.
Credit scores, which are reported to credit grantors, but
not revealed unless the consumer pays a fee, are playing
an increasingly important role in the credit granting
process. Items of a negative nature, which a credit report
review may later show to be inaccurate, lower credit
scores. Credit scores range from about 400 to 800, while
the average seems to be 678, according to a recent
Experian press release.
The new Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
provides free credit reports for all consumers that will
become available in December 2004, first in western states
and then gradually spread in states going eastward to the
Atlantic coast, which will have their free reports by
FACTA also provides many other new protections and rights
for consumers, especially for victims of identity theft
and help for those who are disputing inaccuracies. Active
duty military members who are serving outside the USA may
have "active duty alerts" placed on their credit files.
Victims of identity theft can block unauthorized accounts
from appearing on credit files and more. But, you have to
know your rights in order to utilize and take advantage of
Sadly, most Americans will not review their credit reports
unless and until they encounter a problem obtaining credit
or belatedly discover someone else is using their good
credit. It doesn't seem to make any difference whether the
credit reports are free or not. "If it's not broke, don't
fix it", is how most consumer say they feel when asked.
This lackadaisical approach could be very expensive for a
number of reasons. Credit reports are either helping a
consumer or hurting them everywhere in the marketplace,
from mortgages, insurance, apartment, employment and
Lower credit scores equal higher interest rates and fees,
when and if credit is available. A credit report review by
a trained professional may identify things in a credit
report that are hurtful to a credit score and thereby
making better interest rates available when borrowing.
One of the major goals of the ICFE's Credit Report Review
Program is education about credit reports. How to read and
understand the reports is important for the consumer to
learn. Also important are methods used to spot suspicious
activity which might be the early beginnings of identity
Many financial educators, casually polled by the ICFE,
agree one of the major reasons why millions of consumers
who have free credit reports available to them don't
access them is because they don't think they will
understand them. They are are reluctant to ask for help,
especially if they have bad credit, because they want to
Everyone served by an ICFE Certified Credit Report
Reviewer (CRR) is given detailed instructions on how to
get their own credit files before their appointments, if
they don't have recent copies already. Included with each
credit report review is a list of detailed steps to take
to make any changes and corrections in addition to take
steps to prevent identity theft. Also included is a copy
of the ICFE's Do-It-Yourself Credit File Correction Guide
(FACTA-2004 Edition) to help with communicating to the
credit reporting agencies.
About a half million people will become victims of
identity theft in 2004. Reviewing credit reports on a
regular basis, with a trained and qualified credit report
reviewer is among the latest weapons in guarding against
ID theft. This is done by employing several preventative
steps coupled with early detection.
Financial and insurance planners, debt and credit
counselors, credit union and banking representatives in
addition to mortgage lenders and real estate agents are
among the first hundred plus candidates for Certification
as a Credit Report Reviewer. A San Diego based debt
management firm will have over 50 of their counselors
certified by the end of June 2004. Additionally a Midwest
insurance firm enrolled 50 district managers to be
certified as credit report reviewers and will also train
many of its field agents.
Credit Report Reviewers aren't immune from credit file
inaccuracies. One recently report she'd discovered
mistakes while taking the required educational study
program on the new FACTA law. After an examination, she
becomes certified by the award winning, nonprofit
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) based in
San Diego, CA. The ICFE has been publishing do-it-yourself
credit file correction guides for counselors and consumers
for the last 12 years, and just updated it again in April
with the FACTA 2004 edition.
For more information about a credit report review or how
to get certified* as an ICFE Credit Report Reviewer,
please visit www.financial-education-icfe.org.
* The Credit Report Reviewer program is $250, with a $50
introductory discount available through June 2004.
Quantity discounts and in-house certification classes are
If you have a question for the ICFE Board of Educational
Advisors, please visit www.financial-education-icfe.org.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
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) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million 'Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and 'Credit/Debit Card Sleeves' world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from
'The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.