BOULDER, Colo. – From providing tips to the public on fighting the West Nile virus to advice on Internet mail scams, U of C Federal Credit Union is making wide use of its Web-based “RealityCheck” consumer information service linked up with Atlanta author Remar Sutton. Under a deal signed last June with Sutton, the consumer advocate makes local appearances at U of C branches to provide financial information on topics such as car purchases and investments but in addition “RealityCheck” offers consumers a broad range of “impartial guidance for everyday living.” “So far we’re very pleased with the response we’ve received from the Web site and from Sutton appearances,” said Rich Jones, vice president of marketing. More than 100 attended the first auto buying seminar in July at which Sutton spoke and there was also good attendance at seminars he held on the University of Colorado campus earlier this month dealing with privacy. In the meantime, U of C Federal has attempted to make its “consumer resource” RealityCheck on its Web page valuable to members and the public by posting advice tips on issues of pressing concern. With Colorado hit harder than any other state by an outbreak of West Nile, the Boulder CU attached statistics and health tips to the Web page. Recently, the CU has also added sections on statistics drawn from the National Fraud Complaint Center regarding con artists using unsolicited e-mail for Internet fraud. Another section offers tips from fire protection groups and the National Wildlife Coordinating groups on being “firewise around your home” or on vacation. U of C said it also has tried to make “RealityCheck” timely since it provides data on unwanted phone calls regarding the government’s Do Not Call list. In offering practical help on privacy, U of C actually hired a local shredding firm, Shred It, to have staff and a truck on the premises of one of its branches “so members can bring documents for disposal containing their name or personal information to be shredded that day.” “Our goal all along has been to make our Web page offer real services to our members rather than load it up with product pitches and ads,” explained Jones, the CU’s marketing exec. In its promotion of RealityCheck, the Boulder CU maintains the Web site is a “solutions focused program that helps credit union members and the community make wise decisions based upon unbiased consumer information.” [email protected]

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