Valuable Assistance to Consumers Affected by Identity Theft Offered by Award-Winning Non-Profit Institute of Consumer Financial Education and Global Fraud Solutions

“Consumers across the nation can expect to be bombarded with offers to sign up for credit monitoring services, identity theft prevention services, identity theft insurance, or other programs and services of limited value by companies aimed solely at profiting from the situation. Don’t get scammed again,” warned Paul Richard, RFC, executive director of the award winning Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) based in San Diego, CA.

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) February 25, 2005 -- Have you received a letter from ChoicePoint, a specialty consumer reporting organization that compiles and sells vast amounts of records, many of a highly confidential and sensitive nature, about millions of Americans? If you do, the letter will tell you and about 150,000 other consumers that you are one of their choicest, however unfortunate, record holders, because some of your most personal and private information was purchased from ChoicePoint by identity thieves, who duped them in the credentialing process.

Notification letters are being prepared by ChoicePoint, Inc., for mailing to some 35,000 Californians and an additional 110,000 recipients in other states. Some consumer advocates worry that there is potentially an additional unknown multitude, maybe hundreds of thousands, still to be determined across the country who have been victimized and don’t know it yet.

If you are among the thousands of ChoicePoint victims or receive a similar letter, will you know what to do? Who will you turn to for advice and help?

“Consumers across the nation can expect to be bombarded with offers to sign up for credit monitoring services, identity theft prevention services, identity theft insurance, or other programs and services of limited value by companies aimed solely at profiting from the situation. Don’t get scammed again,” warned Paul Richard, RFC, executive director of the award winning Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) based in San Diego, CA.

“It's very upsetting and a seemingly insurmountable challenge for unsuspecting consumers to suddenly learn their most personal and private information may have been sent out to crooks, especially by a company, ChoicePoint, that many didn’t even know existed," Richard noted. "ChoicePoint began as a subsidiary of Equifax in 1997, one of the big three credit reporting agencies. ChoicePoint has about 19 billion public records in its database including DMV, license and deed transfers, military records, names, addresses and social security numbers." he continued.

ChoicePoint has also announced they are providing free credit-monitoring services to those 145,000 individuals it deems to be at-risk. Expensive credit monitoring services that don’t even monitor specialty report companies like ChoicePoint aren’t very useful. Most only monitor a single credit bureau anyhow. The monitoring service also does not address the task ahead for victims.

Identity theft insurance is not really insurance because as the ChoicePoint incident clearly points out ­it is virtually impossible to prevent or insure against this crime. In this case identity theft insurance, available on some homeowner policies, may help victims recover some of the expense involved in clearing their good name, but it will certainly not reduce the time and hassle.

Many companies who offer identity theft prevention and assistance services have already indicated the ChoicePoint incident would be considered a “pre-existing condition”, so signing up for their services now would be of little, if any, value to the at-risk consumer.

The ICFE has alerted its nationwide network consisting of hundreds of Certified Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists on how to assist consumers in prevention and help the potential victims of the ChoicePoint breach. They are trained in mitigating the serious damage that can and does occur in cases of identity theft.

The ICFE is also introducing its credit report reviewers and ID prevention specialists to a revolutionary software program called CasePlanner™, now available through and also utilized by the ICFE under a special arrangement with Global Fraud Solutions, LLC, an international leader in identity theft solutions. CasePlanner™ is a patent-pending identity theft risk reduction and fraud resolution software package designed to address the needs of both concerned consumers and victims of identity theft.

“The proverbial tangled web of deception is uniquely manifested in each case of identity theft. The gargantuan effort required to undo it is enough for 75 percent of the victims to throw up their hands in disgust and give up, until CasePlanner™," said Richard. "First, there are no monthly fees. Second, it is so comprehensive that users who are victims are assured of a faster, more complete identity and credit recovery. And third, concerned consumers who want to guard against identity theft and prevent it from happening as much as possible will find CasePlanner™ to be an enormous advantage,” said Richard, commenting on the ease of using the program.

There are many web sites that can help consumers understand the process of documenting and reporting their identity theft case. But it is still the victim's responsibility to discover how that information should be reported, to document their case for each organization they are working with, and then follow up with each of those organizations until the case has been closed. Working with a professionally trained and qualified individual is critical in identity theft cases.

CasePlanner™ provides many powerful tools in the fight against identity theft: 1) An awareness and prevention guide to help educate consumers how thieves gain their information and how to avoid being victimized; 2) An encrypted personal account registry where consumers can store their personal information enabling a rapid and decisive response in the event these accounts are ever compromised; 3) An ID inventory to document and record identification and financial instruments contained in their wallet, purse, vehicle glove box, etc; and 4) An exclusive resolution case file system that walks consumers step-by-step through the process of documenting, reporting, and resolving their identity theft case if they are ever victimized.

For more information about Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists please visit www.icfe.info.

For more information about CasePlanner™ please visit www.icfe.info.

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/2/prweb212059.htm