DIEGO, CA. ' You can take steps to minimize your
risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. That is the
message of a nationwide education program launched in May
by the Federal Trade Commission: "AvoID Theft: Deter,
Deter - Take steps to reduce your risk of ID theft
Detect - Monitor your personal information
Defend - Act quickly when you suspect identity theft
The program coincides with issuance of an executive order
signed by President Bush, creating an Identity Theft Task
Force, chaired by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and
co-chaired by FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. The Task
Force will develop a strategic plan to enhance the
effectiveness and efficiency of government efforts to
deter, prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute
"Personal information is the new currency," said Chairman
Majoras. "Consumers should protect their personal
information as carefully as they protect their cash."
The FTC and the Justice Department will send "AvoID Theft:
Deter, Detect, Defend" education kits to 4,500 victim
advocates across the country. The U.S. Social Security
Administration will involve its field offices. Other
partners include the National Association of Realtors, the
American College Personnel Association - College Student
Educators International, the National Association of
Student Personnel Administrators, the National Crime
Prevention Council, the National Apartment Association,
and America's Community Bankers.
The FTC maintains the central federal database for ID
theft complaints. With experts in ID theft, privacy, and
data security, its Division of Privacy and Identity
Protection helps criminal law enforcement detect and
prosecute identity thieves, and provides victim assistance
and consumer education. The agency also pursues law
enforcement actions against companies that fail to provide
reasonable security for sensitive customer data. Since
2001, the FTC has brought 13 such cases, and challenges
organizations that make deceptive claims about privacy
procedures and security.
Materials in the "AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend"
education kit include a victim recovery guide, "Take
Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft." The kit
also contains a training booklet, "Talking About Identity
Theft: A How-To Guide," and a 10-minute video on identity
theft. All materials are available in English and in
Spanish. Through a toll-free number (1-877-IDTHEFT) and
Web site (Consumer.gov/idtheft/),
the FTC has distributed more than 22 million publications
on identity theft.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent,
deceptive, and unfair business Practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers
spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English
or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take
complaints), or to get free information on any of 150
consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at
FTC.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet,
telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related
complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online
database available to thousands of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FTC MEDIA CONTACTS:
Claudia Bourne Farrell
Office of Public Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
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.