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Eileen AJ Connelly

For those worried about ID theft, one-stop site aims to give all the answers

By Eileen AJ Connelly
September 9, 2011

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Are you concerned about having your name and credit history hijacked? Or are you trying to recover from identity theft?

The Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group made up of more than 300 consumer organizations, has unveiled a new website that pulls together information and resources from a range of government agencies and nonprofits. The site,, aims to be a one-stop shop for ID theft issues.

Consumer help The website features information for consumers who are trying to protect their identities and victims trying to clean up the resulting mess.

It offers access to a range of resources, including consumer hotlines and guidance on how to obtain free counseling, advice, and assistance for victims.

Also useful are links to form letters from the Identity Theft Resource Center, which can be helpful as victims set about trying to resolve any problems.

Hot topics such as child identity theft, data breaches, medical privacy, and guidance on how to avoid scams are also addressed.

There are also links directed specifically toward military families, and a range of quizzes from federal government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Face-off and the University of Oklahoma Police Department’s identity theft and fraud quiz, can test your knowledge.

Business resources The site also contains links for businesses to information on how to safeguard customer privacy, check employee backgrounds, and safeguard workers’ information.

And it includes the consumer federation’s “Best Practices for Identity Theft Services,’’ a series of recommendations for companies that sell protection services to consumers. These were developed after a 2009 survey of websites by the group, as well news reports and lawsuits, demonstrated that ID theft protection companies frequently describe their services or make claims in ways that are confusing, unclear, and ambiguous. Nor do such services always offer the protection consumers expect, based on their marketing.

What’s unique Most of the information on the ID Theft Info site is found on other websites.

But the consumer federation has made it easy for consumers and businesses to access the information by linking it to one site.

It also offers some content created by the federation, including a checklist of nine things to consider when shopping for identity theft services.

Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based organization, said that until now such information has been hard for consumers to find.

Eileen AJ Connelly writes for the Associated Press.