San Diego, CA - America s
fastest growing crimes, credit and identity theft, have
claimed over 44 million known victims - and still
counting. There are dozens of organizations offering
so-called Identity Theft services and claiming to be
fraud specialists , most all of which are merely
reactive. Until now, there has been no standard.
Proactively guarding against this insidious and potentially devastating crime has become of the utmost importance among consumers and small business owners who handle private information. Equipping and training professionals as qualified identity theft risk managers has also become paramount as statistics show that the constant reactive focus and response to the crime is ineffective. The number of new identity theft victims only continues to grow at staggeringly high rates, law enforcement is overwhelmed, and there is a clearly defined critical need for trained professionals who can work with and educate consumers and small business owners how to proactively safeguard their own identity and credit, going far beyond those simplistic and general prevention tips so commonly used by countless organizations that merely scratch the surface and provide a false sense of security.
A new curriculum program for training and certifying Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists has been introduced by the Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), an award winning, San Diego based, non-profit organization, which already has close to one thousand ICFE Certified Credit Report Reviewers (CCRRs) and Certified Personal Finance Instructors for The Money Instruction Book .
Among the first nationwide organizations to enroll counselor managers is Springboard Non-profit Consumer Credit Management, based in Riverside, CA. "Credit and identity theft is the new bane to all consumers", said Dianne Wilkman, president and CEO of Springboard. "Professionally trained and skilled counselors from accredited nonprofit agencies like Springboard, doing risk assessment and risk management and working with victims on resolution, are rare," she added. Springboard is now a place where victims can find help, and where those who don't want to become victims can learn how to raise their defenses and guard against this repulsive crime," she added.
The ICFE is enlisting CPAs, financial planners, notaries, credit and debt educators, counselors, paralegals and attorneys, and credit union representatives to become trained and certified to assess clients risks of becoming a victim of credit and identity theft and work with them to manage and minimize that risk. Or, conduct a risk assessment for the small business owner who handles their customers confidential and credit information and make improvements and recommendations on its handling, storage, disposition, and destruction.
ICFE Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists study from a comprehensive Independent Study Guide and then must pass a 100 question written examination, which requires an 80% passing grade. Both the guide and the exam were written by one of the nation s foremost authorities on Identity Theft, Michael Barnett, CEO of Global Fraud Solutions, LLC (GFS). A victim of a very serious case of credit and identity theft while serving in the U.S. Army, he learned firsthand the trials and nightmarish tribulations experienced by victims of Identity Theft.
He later became a law enforcement officer, investigating countless credit, check, and identity theft cases. Years later, he became a regional compliance officer for a major securities and financial services firm, overseeing training, risk management, and complaints and investigations. This unique and tremendous breadth of experience involving all three perspectives of Credit and Identity Theft, not merely a single side, has produced an enormous body of knowledge that is brought to bear in the curriculum materials.
Also included in the curriculum is a copy CasePlanner Identity Theft Risk Management and Resolution Software, also designed by Mr. Barnett, and those who successfully achieve certification are required to become familiar with its use. In addition to being used and endorsed by the Institute of Consumer Financial Education, CasePlanner is the software selected for use by the nationally-known Identity Theft Resource Center of San Diego for identity theft victim assistance, and is also used or offered by other nonprofits, professional organizations, and law enforcement agencies.
ICFE Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialists become the first line of defense for the people they serve when it comes to spotting and thwarting suspicious activity, guarding against credit and identity theft, dramatically increasing their security awareness and significantly minimizing their risk across all fronts.
Small business owners also face many new responsibilities and liabilities under the expanded credit reporting laws, including FACTA, and most are unaware of these new legal requirements. ICFE Certified Identity Risk Management Specialists can help them achieve compliance and guard and protect the confidential information they possess about their customers and employees, while also assisting them in reducing their potential risk of data breaches and the resultant penalties, including potential fines, negative publicity, loss of consumer confidence, and possible lawsuits.
Many national professional organizations have already realized the importance of training and continuing education of their membership about identity theft and its risk management and are reviewing the program for their respective members continuing education (CE) requirements, certification credits, professional development, continuing legal education (CLE), mandatory CLE (MCLE), and continuing professional education (CPE) for accountants.
The ICFE has been accepted as a continuing education (CE) provider with its Certified Credit Report Reviewer and Certified Personal Finance Instructor programs. These organizations include, but are not limited to; the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (iarfc.org), the Association for Counseling and Planning Education (afcpe.org) the Certified Financial Planner s Board of Standards and Practices (cfpboard.org) the National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (naccc.us) and the National Institute for Financial Counseling Education (nifce.org), among other organizations.
To learn more about the ICFE Certification Programs, please visit www.icfe.info.