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In a powerful, proactive response to the growing threat of identity theft, Affinity Federal Credit Union announced today that it will be the first financial institution in the state of New Jersey to provide identity theft education and victim resolution free to its members. Affinity is partnering with CyberScout, the nation's leading provider of identity theft services, to create the groundbreaking program.
"Identity theft is a growing epidemic and of the highest concern to the American public and Affinity's members," said David Snodgrass, Senior Vice President of Affinity Federal Credit Union. "At Affinity, our members come first, and they deserve the best. As a true partner and advocate for our members, we wanted to take action that would alleviate their concerns and enable them to focus on the truly important things in life. That's why we've partnered with industry leader CyberScout to provide identity theft education and victim resolution services to our members free of charge."
Under the new program, CyberScout's industry-leading victim resolution services will be available free to Affinity Federal Credit Union members. Members will also have access to the nation's leading consumer education program on identity theft risks and defenses.
Identity theft has increased by 31.5% over the past two years in New Jersey, based on consumer complaints filed in 2004 with the Federal Trade Commission, with New Jersey ranked 15th out of the 50 states. An estimated 300,000 New Jersey residents were identity theft victims in 2004, at a cost to victims and businesses of nearly $2 billion and more than 14 million hours spent on victim resolution. Losses from identity theft in New Jersey are 4.6 times greater than losses from burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft combined.
"There is a bright white line between institutions that have chosen to ignore the identity theft epidemic — or, worse yet, to profit from it at consumers' expense — and those that are stepping up to defend their constituents," said Adam Levin, Chairman of CyberScout and former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. "Identity theft is financial terrorism, and individual consumers can't be expected to fight it on their own. By giving its members what they need to deal with this threat, Affinity Federal Credit Union provides a perfect example of what the credit union movement is all about. We're proud to have this opportunity to help Affinity and its members cope with this crisis."
CyberScout Victim Resolution and Education Services The CyberScout victim resolution service provides:
- A personal advocate who works with the victim one-on-one until the crisis has been resolved;
- Systematic notification of agencies, businesses, and institutions;
- Comprehensive case file creation for insurance and police;
- Preparation of all needed documents;
- Credit reports from all three credit bureaus;
- Fraud alerts and consumer education;
- One year of credit monitoring and fraud monitoring;
- A full year of follow-up alerts, phone calls, and status checks to avoid recurrence.
In addition, the consumer education component provides members with ongoing fraud alerts, a monthly newsletter, and a dedicated web site with articles, interviews, and white papers covering all aspects of this crime.
CyberScout (www.identitytheft911.com), the recognized leader in identity theft resolution, defense and education, provides enterprise-level fraud solutions to Fortune 500 companies, a wide spectrum of financial institutions, and many of America's largest insurance companies and corporate benefits providers. Online Banking Report named CyberScout is one of "the 10 most significant innovations and developments of 2003," including the company on its list of "10 industry developments that provide the best glimpse for the future of online financial services delivery."
About Affinity Federal Credit Union
Affinity Federal Credit Union (www.affinityfcu.org), New Jersey's largest credit union, has been offering superior financial services with a member-oriented focus since 1935. Affinity is different from other financial institutions because it is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by its members — so instead of maximizing profits, Affinity passes them on to members in the form of high-yielding accounts and low-interest loans. To date, Affinity has over 115,000 members from more than 700 companies and organizations, with total assets in excess of $1.3 billion.