Identity Theft Causes Problems for Teens and Adults!

April is National Financial Literacy for Youth Month

RELEASE: March 2002
CONTACT: Paul Richard, RFC, ICFE Executive Director

San Diego, CA. Identity theft happens when an opportunity arises and thieves are not very particular to one s age, if there is a credit/debit card number to be had. Identity theft, including, but not limited to, Social Security (SS) number, driver s license, bank accounts, PIN numbers, credit / debit card numbers is one of the fastest growing crimes against consumers, both young and old, says the nonprofit Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), a San Diego based group.

If your wallet has been lost or stolen, usually within hours thieves may order expensive monthly cell phone service, apply for other credit cards, get credit lines approved and receive a PIN number from DMV to change your driving record information online, and more, unless you make a few very important telephone calls that will limit the damage.

First call the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax:1-800-525-6285, Experian:1-888-397-3742 and Trans Union:1-800-680-7289) and ask them to immediately place a Fraud Alert on your name and SS#. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Next, notify the SS national fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Then, cancel your credit cards immediately. Be sure to have the toll free numbers and your card numbers kept handy so you know whom to call. If you have not made a list, a simple way is to photocopy the contents of your wallet (do both sides of each license, credit cards, etc.), then add their toll free phone numbers to the list.

Last, but not least, file a police report the same day, if at all possible, in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, because this proves to credit providers you are diligent, and is an important first step toward an investigation.

For more information about protecting yourself against identity theft, visit the U. S. Government s Web site on ID fraud: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ and the National Fraud Information Center at http://www.fraud.org/.

For help with credit card spending and deciding about giving a credit cards to young people, visit the ICFE's Web site at: http://www.icfe.biz. To receive the same information by mail, please send $1 and a self-addressed, 60 cent stamped envelope to:

ICFE Kids & Credit
PO Box 34070
San Diego, CA 92163-4070.

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.icfe.info 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 eNewsletter, 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.