ACCC Shares Tips on How Consumers Can Protect Their Personal Information

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American Consumer Credit Counseling highlights importance of adequately protecting personal information to guard against identity theft and fraud.

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Knowing how to secure your personal information can help reduce the risk of misuse and identity theft, which is the fastest grown white-collar crime in America.

Every day consumers share personal information with others around them in a variety of settings. Because this is so routine, many consumers don’t think twice when initiating transactions that force them to share personal information such as bank and credit card account information, income or even social security numbers. National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with necessary tips to protect their personal information.

“It is more important than ever to make sure your transactions, online and off, are secure and your personal information is protected,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “Knowing how to secure your personal information can help reduce the risk of misuse and identity theft, which is the fastest grown white-collar crime in America.”

According to Safe Smart Living, every three minutes 19 people fall victim to identity theft. According to 2017 IBM X-Force, the number of records compromised in 2016 grew 566 percent from 600 million to more than 4 billion. It is estimated that cybercriminals were paid $209 million in ransom just in the first three months of 2016.

American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with tips on protecting their personal finances (http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education/identity-theft/):

1.    Find out how personal information will be used – Before revealing any personal information, find out how it will be used and if it will be shared with others. Be sure to ask about the company’s privacy policy.

2.    Read the privacy policy – Be sure to read all privacy policies – especially on websites directed to children. Websites that collect information from children under 13 must post a notice on their information collection practices.

3.    Password protection – be sure to put passwords on all accounts such as a bank account, credit card account and phone account. For the most protection, consumers should avoid using passwords that contain their date of birth or mother’s maiden name as this information can be easily accessible.

4.    Keep personal information in a safe place - Consumers should shred or tear any receipts, insurance forms, bank statements, expired credit cards and mailing labels when discarding to prevent identity thieves from capturing personal information.

5.    Avoid giving out account details to unknown sources – Many identity thieves use phishing scams to gain access to consumers’ accounts. These scammers usually email or call and pose as a bank or credit card company employee asking to confirm account information. Consumers should hang up and call the number on the back of their card to confirm they’re speaking to a legitimate staff member.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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