Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

SCOTSDALE, Ariz. – In the identity theft battle, so far some 400 credit unions have joined other organizations in putting ID Theft 911 on “speed dial” and company execs couldn’t be happier. According to founders Adam Levin, chairman; Steven Christenson, president; and SherylChristenson, CEO; the idea of creating a company that centers on the victim ironically developed from a project to find an identity theft solution. “We were doing a project for another company and thought finding an identity theft solution for them would be no problem. Since there were so many providers it would simply be a matter of choosing which was best,” said Sheryl. “What we found is that a lot were providing kits and software but no real resolutions and at the end of the day the victims still had to do a majority of the work themselves. We kept thinking that this is such a hard crime to deal with that if someone could come in and bear the burden of setting everything right, that would be the best service to offer.” The three then approached a variety of credit bureaus and organizations including the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators for some suggestions. “We didn’t go in there saying we’re here and the world is now safe,” said Levin. “We said here is what we think is meaningful and desperately needed, so how can we help you do what you do better.” It was during one of these meetings at TransUnion where the team picked up its fourth executive, COO/Director of Fraud Operations Judd Rousseau. Sheryl credits Rousseau for identifying the top problems encountered by ID theft victims, the bureau, and law enforcement. All these meetings, including a memorable one with Stanford Federal Credit Union President/CEO John R. Davis where he laid out exactly what he wanted to provide his members resulted in the launch of RB421. The name RB421, says Levin, represents assigned identity theft severity values of four points (true ID theft new accounts), two points (account takeover) and one point (lost wallet etc). The retainer-based solution provides the following: * A personal advocate who works with the victim one-on-one, from first call to crisis resolution * Systematic notification of agencies, businesses, and institutions, * Comprehensive case file creation for insurance and police, * Credit reports from all three credit bureaus, * E-mailed 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, * A consumer education component, which provides ongoing e-mailed fraud alerts, a monthly newsletter, and a dedicated Web site with articles, interviews, and white papers covering every aspect of identity theft. The program is customizable and cost is determined by the options selected. “We are particularly sensitive to the whole privacy issue so we don’t ask for any member information. Given all the recent database breeches this is important,” said Christenson. “We’ve handled a lot of calls from consumers who received that letter in the mail and they are upset not just with the situation but the institution that provided their information. We provide our clients all the educational materials and they are in complete control of how they want to distribute it to members. Their members’ proprietary information remains within the credit unions.” Christenson adds that another unique aspect of the protection is that it extends to the whole family and is in force regardless of when someone became a victim. “We don’t make the distinctions typically made in traditional insurance policies, for example were you a victim during the policy period. Many times victims don’t find out until they get a call from a bill collector and that is why it doesn’t matter to us when it happened, we just want them to call us,” said Christenson. “It is also funny when some solutions tout the open 24/7 access which is great but most of the offices you have to deal with to resolve these situations are only open Monday through Friday during regular business hours.” According to Rousseau, ID Theft 911 isn’t interested in becoming a call center and when it comes to hiring fraud expertise is a must. “We look for professionals from experts in the identity theft arena to other fraud areas. Our least tenured staffer has some seven years experience and others have over 20 years experience,” said Rousseau. “What they all have is a passion for advocacy, they empathize with the victims and help restore their lives.” Rousseau says training and education are crucial and ongoing. From seminars to association conferences every person associated with ID Theft 911 is required to stay current on ID theft. Since its launch in spring of 2003, the company has swelled from three founders and two employees to a total of 30 employees with more expected by year-end. Looking ahead Levin says the biggest challenge will be balancing the company’s growth and quality service. “Our growth has been healthy and deliberate. If we fail just one student, member or employee then we’ve failed the institution and we won’t permit that to happen,” said Levin. According to Levin by focusing on the victim the program helps strengthen relationships. “Credit unions have the ultimate issue right in front of them to stand out from all other financial institutions,” said Levin. “Identity theft, which is the equivalent of financial terrorism, is the biggest issue of the decade and credit unions have been most responsive in saying they will do whatever needs to be done to protect their members – and that’s the bright white line between credit unions and banks.” [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited CUTimes.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times
Live Chat

Copyright © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.