BEAVERTON, Ore.- When it comes to the identity theft fight, education and information sharing are key. With identity theft as the fastest growing crime, Oregon’s credit unions are doing their best to help members stay one step ahead of thieves by joining forces with several local organizations. The idea is to proactively help their members avoid identity theft pitfalls, and help those who have been victims recover and get back on track. To that end credit unions here work with the Regional Economic Crime Investigation Center and the Financial Institutions Security Taskforce. RECIC is a collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and private sector institutions, including credit unions, to reduce economic crime through aggressive and coordinated investigation and prosecution. Identity theft and Nigerian type scams affecting credit union members are a particular focus for RECIC investigators. Credit union staffers also attend FIST meetings and educational events to learn and stay informed about current fraud trends. Information gathered at these meetings is then shared with credit union members via newsletters or CU Web sites to educate them on how to spot a scam or fraud, and how to protect themselves from identity thieves. “With the growing problem of identity theft, we are proud of our credit unions and their efforts to combat this detrimental epidemic,” said Credit Union Association of Oregon CEO Gene Poitras. “The bottom line is that credit unions are about helping their members and the communities in which they reside-they will do everything they can to ensure their members are protected.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft claims nearly half a million victims every year and costs financial institutions more than $5 billion every year.

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