Arlington, VA/Silver Spring, MD – The Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) are encouraging consumers and small business owners across the country to fight identity theft by taking part in the 3rd Annual Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW), October 17-23.
Identity theft continues to be a growing problem; the number of victims in the US reached 11.1 million in 2009, a 12.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. Threats abound both online and offline and no one is completely safe, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft and limit the damage.
As part of the 3rd annual Protect Your Identity Week, consumers and small business owners can take advantage of:
- More than 150 events taking place in communities across the country, most offering educational workshops, credit report reviews, and shredding. All events are free and open to the public. Some locations will also provide safe electronic disposal for mobile phones and computer equipment.
- Easy to follow tips and resources are available online at www.ProtectYourIDNow.org, where consumers can learn how to fight identity theft and data breaches. Advice in Spanish is also available at www.cuidesuidentidad.org.
- A self-assessment quiz at www.ProtectYourIDNow.org to determine your personal risk of identity theft.
- Daily blogs from nationally known ID theft expert and McAfee consultant, Robert Siciliano.
“Fighting identity theft is a constant battle and the attacks can come at you from all fronts,” said Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Because we are all potential victims, it’s important that we all take steps to fight identity theft and Protect Your Identity Week is a great place to start. You can participate in a free shredding event to protect yourself now, and check out the educational events and online resources to protect yourself in the future.”
“Last year, tens of thousands of people across the country benefited from the events and resources provided through Protect Your Identity Week. Additionally, more than 500 tons of sensitive documents were shredded, all for free,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. “This year, we anticipate having an even larger impact due to the increased number of events and resources available to consumers. For instance, at shredding events participants can even take part in breaking a Guinness world record. This in itself should create a lot of interest.”
As part of Protect Your Identity Week, Cintas Corporation, national shredding partner for PYIW, is providing free document destruction at events nationwide with the goal of making the Guinness Book of World Records for the most paper shredded in a 24-hour period.
The BBB and NFCC would like to thank Intersections, Inc, a leader in consumer and corporate identity theft management services that also provides the award-winning Identity Guard® brand, for serving as a presenting sponsor of Protect Your Identity Week, and the Wireless Alliance, national electronic device recycling partner, for providing free cell phone disposal at many community events. Additionally, MSN Money is once again serving as the national media sponsor for PYIW.
A number of national organizations are also putting their weight behind this initiative, joining the NFCC and BBB as Supporting PYIW Coalition Members. This Coalition includes: American Bankers Association Education Foundation, American Financial Services Association Education Foundation, American Payroll Association, Consumer Action, Consumer Data Industry Association, Consumer Federation of America, Credit Union National Association, Federal Reserve Board, Federal Trade Commission, FICO, Foundation for Financial Planning, Identity Theft Assistance Center, Identity Theft Resource Center, Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, National Association of Triads, National Council of La Raza, National Crime Prevention Council, National Education Association Member Benefits, National Sheriffs’ Association, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Social Security Administration.
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Gail Cunningham with the NFCC at 940-691-6322 or Alison Southwick with the BBB at 703-247-9376.
About 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 four million consumers through more than 800 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.
About the Better Business Bureau
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 65 million consumers rely on BBB Reliability Reports® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. Visit www.bbb.org/us for more information.