San Diego, CA - Becoming an
identity theft victim was a turning point for Michael
Barnett, the former law enforcement officer and fraud
investigator who authored the nation's premier training
and certification curriculum for ID theft risk management
professionals. For the last sixteen years, he has been
dedicated to combating fraud by providing tools and
The San Diego based Institute of Consumer Financial
Education (ICFE), a nonprofit, public education
organization, trains and certifies law enforcement
professionals, attorneys, credit and debt counselors,
financial planners, notaries and others as identity theft
risk management specialists and credit report reviewers.
Recognizing a need for standardized, professional training
for counselors and other professionals, the ICFE selected
Barnett to develop the course independent study guide and
examination for the Certified Identity Theft Risk
Management Specialist program.
A frequent author, lecturer, and consultant, Barnett, CEO
of Global Fraud Solutions, LLC, is one of the nation's
leading Identity Theft authorities. Drawing upon vast
experience and knowledge of identity theft and identity
fraud, Barnett originally designed the acclaimed
CasePlanner' software, an education, risk management, and
resolution system for consumers and victims of identity
theft. The case management system version of the
CasePlanner software is used exclusively by the Identity
Theft Resource Center in San Diego, a national non-profit
consumer advocacy group focusing on victim assistance.
More people are slowly becoming aware of the importance of
proactively managing their own risk of credit and identity
theft, particularly in light of wide-scale fraud,
information theft and data compromises, and alarming news
stories about the increase in credit and identity theft
incidents. However, the basic, generic advice that is
typically provided can provide a dangerous false sense of
'The basic advice, though well-intentioned, can actually
contribute to the problem. Consumers are led to believe
'If I do these ten simple things, I'll be safe'. Criminals
have become extremely sophisticated in their techniques,
deceptions, and abilities to strike without warning while
covering their tracks. Consumers and small business owners
are simply unaware of the true extent of their risks, or
their rights, responsibilities, and potential liabilities.
It is only through proper education and proactive risk
management that they can effectively begin to minimize
their risks,' said Barnett.
Educating consumers and small business owners about fraud
and their areas of risk is a valuable and much-needed
service. Reviewing how credit, financial, and other
private and important information is handled, stored, and
disposed of, and providing expert advice and techniques on
how to effectively minimize the risk of becoming a victim
is included in a comprehensive program taught by the ICFE.
'A certified professional can provide expert education,
guidance, and a review of the handling of personal credit
and identity information for the express purposes of
safeguarding against credit fraud, information compromise,
and identity theft,' Barnett added.
Additionally, businesses both large and small are given
new responsibilities under the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act (FACTA) and held liable with penalties
should they not protect the private information of their
clients and customers. Small businesses owners especially
need the help of professionally trained individuals who
can also provide information to assist them in complying
with these responsibilities. And also identifying the
steps to minimize risks and avoid suffering the damaging
effects of negative publicity and possible legal
The ICFE Certified Identity Theft Risk Management
Specialist (CITRMS) program enrollees learn from a
comprehensive Independent Study Guide, and must then pass
a 100 question written examination, which requires a
minimum 80% passing grade. There are five areas of study
1) Understanding Identity Theft
2) Credit Reports, Specialty Reports and Public Records
3) Identity Theft Risk Management and Resolution
4) Rights and Responsibilities under Consumer Protection
5) Identity Theft Risks and Issues for Businesses
The course includes a copy of the CasePlanner' Identity
Theft Risk Management and Resolution software from Global
Fraud Solutions, LLC.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, PACE
and the International Association of Registered Financial
Consultants has accepted the CITRMS program for 30
continuing education hours.
'The acceptance of this course by these prestigious
professional organizations clearly demonstrates that in
today's environment, it is critical for professionals to
educate and assist their clients in addressing all aspects
of risk management,' said ICFE Executive Director, Paul
'Sound risk management in today's world includes not only
education and planning in the traditional sense, but also
education and risk management related to fraud and
identity theft. The professional who is in a position to
provide this type of client assistance provides a
valuable, much-needed service that distinguishes
themselves amongst their peers,' Barnett added.
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.