Credit union paying for ID theft protection after info error


Stewart Verney

Jax Federal Credit Union is paying for two years' worth of identity theft protection for thousands of its members after their Social Security numbers ended up on the Internet.

JFCU, which has about 36,000 members, was transmitting information to a printer for a preapproved auto loan mailing when the information was picked up by Google from the printer's Web site. JFCU normally transmits information on an encrypted disk delivered by courier, but when the printer couldn't open the disk, the information was sent again, but wasn't encrypted and included Social Security numbers and account numbers.

"Our procedures weren't followed and errors were made and unfortunately there was some exposure," said Angie Coleman-Rao, vice president of marketing for JFCU.

The credit union notified Google, which removed the file and all references to it, and doesn't think anyone gained access to the information.

But JFCU is offering two years of identity theft protection from LifeLock to each of the nearly 7,500 members whose information was on the file. The service normally costs $110 a year, though JFCU was able to get a discount.

"We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect our members," Coleman-Rao said. "We got a big discount, because that's a lot of people."

LifeLock puts out fraud alerts to all three major credit bureaus for its customers and gets their names on opt-out lists for preapproved offers, such as the one JFCU was sending to its members. The fraud alerts have to be renewed every 90 days.

Coleman-Rao said the credit union wasn't legally obligated to do anything, since the information wasn't actually stolen.

"It was worth it for us to pay for the service," she said. "We're buying peace of mind."

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