ARLINGTON, Va. and SILVER SPRING, Md. (9/23/10)--The Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) are encouraging consumers and small-business owners nationwide to fight identity theft by taking part in the third annual Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW), Oct. 17-23. This will be of note to credit unions that serve members and small businesses. The Credit Union National Association is one of the national organizations supporting the initiative. Identity theft continues to grow, with the number of victims in the U.S. reaching 11.1 million in 2009, a 12.5% increase over the previous year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. Threats exist online and offline, and no one is completely safe, but there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves against identity theft and limit the damage, said NFCC in a press release. As part of the third annual PYIW, consumers and small business owners can take advantage of:
* More than 150 events in communities nationwide. Most offer educational workshops, credit report reviews and shredding. Events are free and open to the public. Some locations also will provide electronic disposal for mobile phones and computer equipment. * Easy-to-follow tips and resources available online at www.ProtectYourIDNow.org, where consumers can learn how to fight identity theft and data breaches. Advice in Spanish also is available at www.cuidesuidentidad.org. * A self-assessment quiz at www.ProtectYourIDNow.org to determine a consumer’s personal risk of identity theft. * Daily blogs from nationally known identity 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, BBB president/CEO. “Because we are all potential victims, it’s important that we all take steps to fight identity theft, and PYIW is a great place to start.” “Last year, tens of thousands of people across the country benefited from the events and resources provided through PYIW,” said Susan C. Keating, president/CEO of the NFCC. “Also, more than 500 tons of sensitive documents were shredded, all for free. This year, we anticipate having an even larger impact due to the increased number of events and resources available to consumers. For instance, at some 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 PYIW, 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.