Dave: Hi everybody, Dave Sullivan here part of the marketing team at People Driven Credit Union. I’ve got a very special guest here with you today.
Ken: Hi everybody, I’m Ken Kunsman with IdentityIQ.
Dave: Ken, with the pandemic and everything going on there’s been a big increase in identity theft and why don’t you tell us a little bit about what the pandemic has had in combination with identity theft. If anything is especially taken off more than other things.
Ken: Yeah, sure Dave and thanks again for having me. You’re right unfortunately, for the last 10 years we’ve been on an upward trend of identity theft and credit fraud and synthetic fraud where people are getting a lot of social security numbers and creating identities around them. There’s been a lot of stuff going on and then unfortunately, you know, there’s a Chinese expression about in any crisis comes opportunity. Unfortunately, the criminals have taken advantage of this opportunity to say well people are unsure about things like getting registered for vaccines, getting registered for testing, getting stimulus checks or getting payroll support. You know payroll protection checks when they were out of work. Even unemployment. So, we’ve seen scams across the board taking advantage of those programs. Just the confusion and just the fact that in each state they’re a little bit different, so people have taken advantage of those things and done all kinds of scams around telling people they can get their thing but they need to test the account so they need to do a small transaction and then getting access to their accounts or get into to deposit checks and then getting access to their accounts and just if it breaks your heart. But unfortunately, we’re seeing the national studies are letting us know that while we saw a little bit of a dip in activity in 2019, it went right back up and through the roof again in 2020.
Dave: You know just a day or so ago I got a money order in the mail made out to me for like $5.19 and it said deposit this in your account and you know for whatever reason I throw it away of course. But it was a legitimate money order, so I think they’re going to great lengths to try to take advantage of people unfortunately.
Ken: Right exactly. Once they do that there’s exposure of a routing number and maybe even an
account number at that point. You’re leaving an address as well.
Dave: Exactly right. Ken that’s one of the reasons why we partnered with IdentityIQ it’s a product that we’re very high on. We really believe it’s a good product for our members and our employees as well. Ken tell us a little bit about what the product does and how people can take advantage of it sure.
Ken: Sure, so IdentityIQ is the flagship brand of my company which goes by ID IQ, but IdentityIQ is the fully comprehensive identity theft protection. So, the very first thing is an umbrella. Unfortunately, many of us and it’s hit my family as well. We’ll be the victims of identity theft and that could end up costing and if it does have any cost lawyers, accountants, CPA’s whatever to straighten things out to restore identity. We’ll talk about how we do that. We do have a million dollars of A.I.G underwritten protection available to any member who comes up and on our highest plan, our max plan, there’s twenty-five thousand dollars of protection for up to three dependents. So, the first thing is there’s that coverage. Then the second thing is again because it’s an inevitability unfortunately, that so many people are going to continue to be hacked it’s stressful and so the biggest thing that we try to do is take away that stress. So our consultants who are here in the US, in Chicago and California will get on the phone with whoever is unfortunate enough to have that experience and walk them through saying okay, no problem, we’re going to take care of this you’re covered and here’s how we’ll get you back out of it. Here’s the steps you can take, you’re not alone. We walk you through that entire plan to make sure you can get your identity restored. Your credit restored and so forth. Sometimes that can take a long time. I’ve seen reports where it takes people months to get that done and the last thing, we want is an employee or a customer worrying about something for months. Rather have them get with our folks it shortens the time frame down significantly and they don’t need to worry about it because we’re reassuring them every step of the way. They can see that progress is being made. So that’s the first thing from the protection side, Dave.
Dave: Well it’s a lot like insurance for your car or your home, right? This is almost like an insurance policy on your identity. Given everything that’s going on it’s worthwhile.
Ken: That’s exactly right. That’s the that’s the what-if scenario so what do we do to kind of attack where they’re attacking. So, we have the best monitoring and it sounds a little bit cliche but stack us up against anyone people know the 800-pound gorilla in our space, we’re big too by the way. We match up, there’s no one that has more comprehensive action coverage than we do and so what that means is its immediate alerts from all three of the credit bureaus. So, if someone’s going to try and scam you, they need to do to open an account or do whatever they’re going to do, they need to ping against your credit report. So, if that happens you get an instant alert from Experian, from Equifax or from Transunion.
We’re not the aggregated report that comes 24 hours later and gives them a one-day head start on siphoning money or whatever they’re going to do. You’re going to get that immediate alert, if you’re subscribed to our service and you’ll know what’s going on and then the other thing we do is we give you that alert information in easy to understand English. So, it’s not going to say trade account x473 possible account inquiry and what do you do with that. So, it’s going to say hey someone try to open an account at this institution here’s what we recommend you do about it. Call, do this, change your passwords that kind of thing. So, we’re going to be very specific about what to happen in the case of those alerts.
People hear things like dark web, and you know, yes, absolutely, everything you can think of is covered in there all these types of things. Account openings, checking account fraud, identity fraud, credit card fraud. All those things are covered in what we have and where we go above and beyond is on address change information because we’re such a huge data consumer, one of the top five consumers of data from Transunion, as an example. We have been able to work with the folks who verify identifications and get a very robust, second to none, address monitoring because the first thing a criminal will do is try to get the institution to change the address on file so now all future alerts and mail go to them instead of to you. So, we’re protecting you, we’re fighting them where they’re trying to attack you. So, with that and that umbrella protection you talked about. We feel as though people can really rest easy knowing they’ve got themselves as armored as they can be, as protected as they can be in this situation.
Dave: What is the most frequent alert that you send out, would you say, to people who participate with the program?
Ken: So the most frequent is going to be an account inquiry where someone tries to open up a new account or that there’s been some transaction activity that looks suspicious and so those are the things that that people would expect to see. So, we can get those alerts straight from our credit cards as well. This is nice because you get the alert, you go into the system. I’m looking that way because that’s the screen that’s on, and they can log in and say okay, again, very simply here’s what we’re going to do about it, and they can take those steps. So, I think people feel protected and so that’s the good part right. We’ve got that defensive strategy in place where we’re protected. We’ve got the umbrella coverage so something does go wrong and you know for a third of the country you know, we’ve already experienced that and unfortunately it’s growing and you know everyone’s going to understand what it means at some point and that’s too bad but we’ll get through it.
But after we get done with all that strong protection, what we did and what you’re doing for your members, is saying now let’s take some proactive actions. Let’s go on offense. Someone just said to me earlier today actually from another credit union said you know it’s expensive to be poor because when you have a relatively low credit score, you’re talking about paying higher interest rates on your credit cards. You’re talking about paying higher interest rates on a loan, auto loan or a home loan you might have to pay a bigger security deposit when you rent an apartment you pay more on utilities. There’s all kinds of these additional costs that go along with having poor credit and so rolled into the program that you selected to share with your members is that Scorecaster IQ which is to say we get your credit reports, you pull those as part of the identity theft and credit monitoring.
Now Scorecaster IQ is going to tell you here are the things that are negatively impacting your credit score and again here specifically what you can do about it and you’re helping your members eliminate those negative impactors on their credit scores. So, that when they call up and say I’d love to do a REFI or a HELO and I’d like to get that really low two point whatever percent interest rate and you go yeah well you know we need to get your credit score up a little bit. They don’t need to feel like that’s out of their hands they can see exactly what steps they can take to reach those new credit goals and take advantage of those lower interest rates and better programs. So, we’re excited about that as well.
Dave: Yeah again, that’s my really my favorite part about it. I mean you need identity theft and you need to cover yourself that way, but I like the fact that you added in a tool that most mortgage lenders use. So, I’m very familiar with that tool and I know it’s a good product, so I was very happy to see that was included.
Ken: Yep, it’s just three simple steps of, again depending on the plan your members choose they can get their credit reports once a year, twice a year or every quarter and when they get it they can run the Scorecaster IQ tool. The first step is analysis. Here’s the accounts that are positively impacting your score. Here’s the ones that are negatively impacting your score. Here’s by how much, then they click on recommendations and it says okay remember those accounts here’s what we recommend you do about them. Here’s things you can do in the short term, here are things you can do in the long term. So now they have a now they have a road map. Now they have a way to get there and if they do have a conversation with you, which we know that’s happening, your members are talking to you at the credit union all the time, they’re talking about what their future borrowing needs might be and you’re letting them know what would help them get to the next plateau of opportunities. They can actually set a goal for themselves saying okay my credit score the national average is 700 basically I want to get to 750 and they can set that as a goal and the software will come back and very specific to them. To their credit report, to their scenario, to their situation. It will say here are the steps you can take to reach that credit goal.
So we’re at this time of year where people might be getting tax refunds, their stimulus checks that they may have gotten their hands, on maybe birthday or anniversary money, whatever it is they can see interestingly applying three hundred dollars or a hundred dollars to one account might have a bigger impact than applying it to another account. Then on the flip side you know when people are living paycheck to paycheck and they’re not having a windfall of income coming in from whatever and now that maybe they’ve got to pay some taxes they owe and maybe they’re scraped around in this month money’s going to be tight. Same thing they can see where they can apply that tight money those tight funds the limited amount of money each month against the accounts to make sure again, they’re tackling the ones that otherwise would be really negatively impacting their credit score. If they get behind and that credit score gets any worse well now they could be just paying more and more. So, we like to think that really helps people understand what their opportunity can be and how to get there. So, we’re glad you have it rolled out we like the education component. There’s educational information on all the plans in our IQ center and we really hope your members take advantage of that. Get their credit score, credit health improved. Feel healthy about being protected from identity theft and you know healthy happy employees. Healthy happy customers, that makes for a good business that makes for a good community and we’re glad to be a part of it.
Dave: We really enjoy that, and we are offering 35% off, you click on the link on our website so you can go down to the blog and this will be posted there as well. Ken, I appreciate your time and uh hopefully we will get the word out to more and more people. If they have any questions they can always reach out. Thanks for being on here Ken I do appreciate that.
Ken: Yeah, thanks very much for having me Dave!