Credit union: members' data stolen


Elizabeth Huff

A computer containing personal information on an undisclosed number of Kellogg Community Federal Credit Union members was stolen during a break-in sometime in the third week of July.

In a letter dated July 25 sent to affected customers, the credit union said the computer was taken along with other items from "the offices of a vendor who has been providing services to the Credit Union."

A file containing some members' names, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers and account numbers was on the computer's hard drive.

Kellogg Community has more than 25,300 members and more than $231.2 million in assets in 2005, according to its Web site.

Tracy Miller, Kellogg Community's chief executive officer, refused to say who the vendor is or how many people were affected, citing an ongoing investigation.

"I won't be providing any additional information," she said. "We're working with the FBI."

Credit union member and government contractor Kim Swanger, 46, of Battle Creek, received one of the letters.

When she asked a branch teller on July 31 which vendor lost the information, she was told the bank couldn't release the identity.

"Well, they have mine," Swanger said, referring to her personal information.

Credit unions sometimes partner with outside vendors — insurance companies, for example.

Debbie Mathews, vice president of operations at United Educational Credit Union, said credit unions are required by law to disclose that kind of information to their members. United Educational partners with CUNA Mutual Group to provide free life insurance to its members.

"We send statements, we send stuffers, we tell them when we open their account that this is a benefit of members," she said.

Whether Kellogg Community's vendor was an insurance company or another company was not disclosed because of the ongoing investigation.

Kellogg Community member Michael Williams, a 58-year-old electrician from Charlotte, is not greatly concerned about the breach in security.

"I've been with the credit union going on close to 28 years now," he said. "I feel comfortable knowing that they've been honest with this instead of sweeping it under the rug."

Williams said he plans to sign up for a free credit checking service Kellogg Community has offered for one year to its affected members.

Swanger, however, said she plans to transfer to another credit union.

"I feel like the people of this town have made Kellogg's, and that's what this whole credit union is about," she said. "You don't treat your members like that."

A news release sent Friday said there is no evidence suggesting the information has been breached or misused. It also states the information is password protected.

main page ATTRITION feedback