SAVANNAH — Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Savannah will host National Protect Your Identity Week with two days of events that are free and open to the public.
In Savannah, National Protect Your Identity Week will kick-off on Thursday from 1-5 p.m. at the Bull Street Library, located 2002 Bull St. A mobile ShredEx document shredding truck will be on-site to shred personal papers from 1-3 p.m.
From 3-4:30 p.m., financial crime and identity theft experts will be on hand to offer free advice about how to keep your information safe and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft. Credit counselors will also be available to provide mini-credit report review sessions.
Bring your own recent credit report or we can pull one for you (sessions are available on a first come, first served basis). Refreshments and door prizes will be available courtesy of The Coastal Bank.
On Friday, National Protect Your Identity Week continues from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the United Way office, located at 428 Bull St. A mobile shredding truck from Seacoast Shredding will be onsite to shred your sensitive documents from 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
From 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., financial crime and identity theft experts will be on hand to offer free advice about how to keep your information safe and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft. Credit counselors also will be available for mini-credit report review sessions with you.
Refreshments and door prizes will be provided by The Coastal Bank.
“Identity theft is a frightening experience,” said Mandy Ownley, Vice President of Sales, Service and Cash Management at The Coastal Bank. “Here at The Coastal Bank, we cannot stress identity theft protection education and vigilance enough. Our goal is to encourage consumers to follow a few simple measures that will safeguard them from fraudulent practices. We even offer a special checking account with a free identity theft recovery service for our customers.”
In 2008, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling reported that 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft. An estimated 25 percent of victims who had new accounts opened in their names did not discover that their identity was stolen until more than six months after the crime first occurred.
“We advise and counsel families in any type of financial situation,” said Skye Tyler, the Education Coordinator for CCCS. “Financial education is vital to protect your assets. We help families with budget counseling, credit counseling, debt management, education and first time home buying.”
The Consumer Credit Counseling Service is a non-profit organization that has been serving residents of Chatham County and surrounding areas since 1965.
A recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 45 percent of all U.S. adults, roughly 101 million people, would feel at most risk for identity theft when making a purchase with a credit card that requires the card to be temporarily taken out of their sight, for example, at a restaurant.
By contrast, consumers are least fearful of falling victim to identity theft when using their credit card to make a purchase in person, for instance at a store. Only 21 percent of U.S. adults listed this as a concern, suggesting that consumers are comfortable as long as they can keep an eye on their card.
“In 2007, 8.4 million Americans reported being a victim of ID theft. That number increased by 19 percent to 10 million victims in 2008, making identity theft the crime that won’t go away,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. “Americans must remain vigilant against this crime, protecting themselves through awareness and education.”