San Diego, CA. American businesses are
linking future business success to the continued growth
of consumer credit. More emphasis is on credit
scoring-used to price credit for both prime and
sub-prime borrowers, and the abundant increases in
credit lines are often linked to homeowner s equity.
There are unintended consequences to increased credit use; chief among them is the dramatic and stunningly persistent growth of credit fraud and identity theft. And despite consumers being entitled to free credit reports annually, their credit file errors remain high and credit repair scams abound.
For the seventh year in a row, identity theft ranked
first in fraud complaints consumers filed with the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Identity theft accounts
for 36% of the 674,374 complaints received in 2006.
Credit card fraud was the most common form of reported
A recent Gartner Inc. study found that 15 million people were victimized by some kind of fraud related to identity theft during a year-long period and also found that direct financial loss due to identity theft fraud more than doubled from 2005 to 2006. Correspondingly, both the average loss on new account fraud and the amount of unauthorized charges to credit cards increased during the year.
Other results show the rapidly growing need for professionals to learn about credit reports and the laws that govern them. They also need to learn risk management techniques and how to protect customers, clients and consumers against the predations of credit and identity thieves.
An entirely new growth industry has arisen in training financial, legal, privacy and other professionals who can help consumers and businesses, and work more closely with law enforcement.
One element missing until recently is a standardized credential in identity theft risk management and credit reporting/reviewing that can be recognized and relied upon by consumers, businesses and even law enforcement professionals. The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) has bridged that gap with its two certifications.
The ICFE s courses, accepted for CE credits with many major organizations, on credit reports and reviews, plus identity theft risk management, guide students in exploring the complexity of these issues and how they can negatively impact and harm consumers.
Getting the ICFE Certified Credit Report Reviewer (CCRR) and/or the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS) credentials are now becoming essential for all credit, debt, privacy specialists, financial and insurance counselors who are working with the public because it gives consumers peace of mind their advisor is up to date on these important issues.
The nonprofit ICFE has examined and issued credentials to over 5,000 individuals, including privacy consultants, law enforcement, military counselors, lawyers, paralegals, financial planners and credit counselors, real estate agents and mortgage brokers since 2005.