San Diego, CA ' Veterans and active duty servicemembers
whose personal information may have been stolen are being
offered a salve ' credit monitoring - which is a feel good
response, but provides a false sense of security. When it
comes to identity theft prevention measures, relying on
credit monitoring is similar to placing only one smoke
detector in a three story home.
The San Diego based Institute of Consumer Financial
Education (ICFE), which certifies credit report reviewers
and identity theft risk management specialists, cautions
potential victims to carefully review and understand the
limitations of credit monitoring. Credit monitoring will
not alert the consumer if someone has obtained a driver's
license, birth certificate, Social Security card, or used
their name during interactions with law enforcement,
resulting in arrest warrants or erroneous criminal
Most credit monitoring services only monitor one bureau.
Some provide an initial three-bureau report on the first
order, and then revert to monitoring only one. Many
creditors report to the bureaus only once a-month or
quarterly. In cases involving utility accounts, it may
never be reported until after it has been sent to
collections. With very rare exceptions, credit monitoring
does not monitor specialty-reporting companies or check
Credit monitoring will not report to the victim in a
timely fashion, if at all, when an identity thief has
taken a job using the victim's name and Social Security
number -- in some States, this type of employment fraud
approaches one-third of all identity theft cases -- and
causes significant financial cost, unexpected tax
consequences, and embarrassment to the victim.
ICFE urges 'opting-out' of pre-screened credit offers,
placing 'Fraud Alerts' on credit files, and instituting a
credit 'Freeze' where available. Fraud alerts are
temporary (90-day) intended to alert potential credit
issuers the consumer is or may be a victim of fraud.
Credit freezes prevents most third parties from accessing
the consumer's credit file. States permitting all
consumers to request a credit file freeze are California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
York, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont and
States that permit only ID theft victims to request
freeze are Hawaii, Kansas, South Dakota, Texas
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.