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
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
For more information about protecting yourself against identity theft, visit
the U. S. Government's Web site on ID fraud:
and the National Fraud Information Center at
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
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.financial-education-icfe.org 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 eNews, 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.
For more information contact Paul S. Richard ICFE Executive Director at 619-239-1401.