In recent months Credit Union Times has been highlighting the problem of “rogue” Web sites. These are sites set up to look like a specific credit union’s site, but are actually phonies. These look-a-like sites use addresses that sound like real credit unions to generate business or get the public to provide personal information or cash. Some search engines list them as genuine credit unions and at least one consumer reportedly lost a $10,000 “minimum deposit” last fall by trying to open an account though a scam site. The solution for both consumers and credit unions is a .coop Internet domain. These domains are available only to genuine credit unions and other cooperative businesses. They must be verified before they ever reach the Internet. As a result, bogus sites would be quickly discovered as a scam and weeded out. Using a .coop domain removes any worry over this new type of identity theft while it helps build a unique Internet identity for co-ops. Consumers can rest assured that, anytime they see a .coop Internet domain, it must be either a genuine credit union or other co-op business or organization. Paul Hazen President and CEO National Cooperative Business Association and Dot Cooperation LLC Washington, D.C. (Editor’s Note: Dot Cooperation LLC is an entity that sells .coop domains.)

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