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Council of Better Business Bureaus
Consumers Feel More At Risk for Identity Theft When Making Certain Types of Purchases
September 23, 2009

National Campaign’s Web site and Community Events Aimed at Identity Theft Protection and Education

September 22,2009- Silver Spring, MD – A recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) survey conducted by Harris Interactive® revealed that 45 percent of all U.S. adults, roughly 101 million people, would feel at most risk for identity theft when making a purchase with a credit card that requires the card to be temporarily taken out of their sight, for example, at a restaurant. 

By contrast, consumers are least fearful of falling victim to identity theft when using their credit card to make a purchase in person, for instance at a store.  Only 21 percent of U.S. adults listed this as a concern, suggesting that consumers are comfortable as long as they can keep an eye on their card. 

“In 2007, 8.4 million Americans reported being a victim of ID theft.  That number increased by 19 percent to 10 million victims in 2008, making identity theft the crime that won’t go away,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC.   “Americans must remain vigilant against this crime, protecting themselves through awareness and education.”

In an effort to provide consumers with identity theft education and protection, the NFCC announces its second annual National Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW), October 17-24.  Joining the NFCC as a full partner this year is the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), combining the strength of two well-respected nonprofits behind this initiative. 

“Be it technology-based methods such as vishing, phishing and smishing, or low-tech means such as stealing wallets or credit cards, identity theft is a violation of trust,” said Steve Cox, Council of Better Business Bureaus.  Cox will take over as CBBB president & CEO in October. “While businesses, nonprofits and government continue making progress in fighting identity theft and educating the public, consumers must remain vigilant and continue adhering to the adage, ‘trust, but verify,’ when it comes to providing personal information.”

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.

Consumers can find PYIW educational events in their area by going to www.ProtectYourIDNow.org.  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 site also includes identity theft prevention tips, videos, an interactive quiz to assess your risk of identity theft, and resources for victims. A new feature this year is a blog hosted by nationally known identity theft expert Robert Siciliano who 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.

In order to educate as many consumers as possible, the Web site will also available in Spanish at www.cuidesuidentidad.org  in late September.

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+. 

To schedule a media interview, please contact, Gail Cunningham (940) 691-6322

About The National Foundation for Credit Counseling
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC Members annually help more than three million consumers through close to 850 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC Member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit www.nfcc.org.