Identity theft is often referred to as the fastest growing crime in America. It certainly is the crime that won’t go away, as for the past 8 years, ID theft has been the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC's) top consumer fraud complaint. A recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) survey conducted by Harris Interactive asked consumers what their greatest concerns would be if they were to become a victim of identity theft. Survey results revealed that, while most consumers would be understandably concerned over losing money (73 percent) and spending time to resolve the issue (69 percent), more than 50 percent said their greatest concerns would be associated with the personal side of being victimized. Consider the following information revealed by the survey:
• The highest percentage of U.S. adults, 75 percent, said their greatest concern would be not knowing who has their personal information.
• 65 percent said their greatest concern would be becoming a victim of ID theft again.
• 56 percent said knowing that the thief knew where they lived would be one of their greatest concerns.
“Identity theft victimization violates consumers on many levels. Whereas people previously may have focused on the inconvenience and financial side of recovery, we now know that consumers also associate great personal insecurity with this crime,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. Recognizing the continuing need for identity theft education and protection, the NFCC and Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) are proud to join together in providing consumers with identity theft prevention tools through the second annual National Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW), from Oct. 17-24.
Hundreds of events across the country will be available to consumers during the week. PYIW educational events can be located by going to either www.ProtectYourIDNow.org or www.CuideSuIdentidad.org, a Spanish language PYIW site new to the 2009 outreach. Hosted by a local member of the NFCC, BBB or other Coalition Member, consumers can take advantage of identity theft workshops, onsite shredding and credit report reviews. The Web sites also include identity theft prevention tips, videos, an interactive quiz to assess your risk of identity theft, and resources for victims.
Also new in 2009 to www.ProtectYourIDNow.org is a blog hosted by nationally known identity theft expert Robert Siciliano. Siciliano will be providing insight, information and advice for consumers each day during PYIW. After PYIW, Siciliano will post weekly on the blog throughout the year on topics relevant to identity theft.
A number of national organizations are also putting their weight behind this initiative, joining the NFCC and CBBB as Supporting PYIW Coalition Members. This Coalition includes: the American Bankers Association Education Foundation, AFSA Education Foundation, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Credit Union National Association, Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft Resource Center, Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, National Council of LaRaza, National Crime Prevention Council, National Education Association Member Benefits, National Sheriff’s Association, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the National Association of Triads. MSN Money is once again the national online media sponsor.
The Identity Theft Survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling between September 11 and September 14, 2009 among 1,003 adults ages 18 and older.
For more information, visit NFCC.org.