CU Data

CUs Protect Members From Identity Theft

The crime strikes more than 12.6 million people every year.

April 01, 2013
KEYWORDS identity , services , theft , vystar
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When administrators at VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville, Fla., began noticing, a few years ago, that more of their members were facing identity theft, they began offering resolution services through a third-party company.

Not tied to one account, these services were available to all members whose identities had been compromised.

Identity theft has only grown in frequency and severity. More than 12.6 million Americans fell victim to this crime in 2012—an increase of more than one million people over 2011.

The effects of identity theft are both personal and prolific. Consumers spend an average of 33 hours and $631 clearing their credit and financial records and restoring order to their lives—though some complex cases can take months or years to be fully resolved.

Last year, identity theft accounted for $21 billion in stolen funds, goods, and damages.

New banking and consumer technologies have opened doors for new forms of identity theft, and VyStar has expanded the range of resolution services available.

In February, members had access to personalized credit and identity monitoring, identity management for people at all ages and stages of life, and a new product that helps parents track their children’s social networking, smartphone, email and texting activity. These services are provided at little to no cost to members.

“As a credit union, we’re dedicated to serving as trusted advisors to help members through every aspect of their lives,” says Terry West, VyStar’s president/CEO.

That help “doesn’t stop at providing loans and deposit services,” adds Judy Walz, VyStar’s senior vice president of marketing and planning. “By extending our resolution services, we are bringing our services to the individual. And that includes protecting them from fraud and identity theft.”

VyStar has once again partnered with IDentity Theft 911, a leading provider of identity management solutions, identity theft recovery services, breach services, and data risk management solutions for businesses.

VyStar is the first credit union to offer the company’s SocialScout, a parental intelligence system that monitors and analyzes children’s online and social networking activity and keeps parents informed of potential predators, cyberbullies, or behavior that could compromise a child’s identity or reputation.

According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, more than two-thirds of parent respondents stated that their 9- to 14-year-old children are involved in some form of social networking.

Children always have been at high risk for identity theft, as are college students, the newly married, active-duty military members, and retirees. VyStar is offering IDentity Theft 911’s LifeStages services, which provides services tailored to the high-risk moments in a person’s life.

Members will have direct, unlimited access to a fraud specialist both in an effort to prevent identity theft and to restore a victim’s identity and credit after theft occurs.

VyStar also offers IDentity Theft 911’s FraudScout, which monitors credit and public database activity, alerting members to potential fraudulent activity.

“The member is the center of everything we do,” says Walz. “We decided we could best help [them] by offering the services to assist them if they got into trouble.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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