CUs ready to help members if victimized by fed breach

June 8, 2015

SAN ANTONIO (6/8/15)--Millions of current and former federal employees may have had their personal information compromised during a breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which recently announced it became aware of a cybersecurity incident affecting its systems.

Many credit unions nationwide serve memberships that include federal employees, and several already have taken steps to prepare for an influx of calls they will likely receive from concerned members.

Ashley Harris, vice president/corporate communications, Generations Community FCU, San Antonio, told News Now Friday that the credit union has circulated an alert to staff members covering details of the breach and guidance on how to take care of members who call in with questions or concerns.

One section of the alert explains what the staffer should tell members to do if they suspect their information has been compromised.

“Set up text and/or email alerts on their Generations accounts,” the first bullet said. “Monitoring account transactions will help protect them now and in the future.”

Echoing the advice in the alert, Harris also recommended that members pull their monthly statements and scour them for unknown transactions, and to regularly review their accounts online.

“This allows them to keep a good, solid eye on their accounts and make sure nothing fraudulent is going on,” Harris told News Now.

The OPM will email notifications to roughly 4 million individuals who may have had personally identifiable information exposed--such as Social Security numbers and birthdates--as a result of the breach, which reports say has been linked to China. The Chinese government has denied involvement.

Harris and other credit unions that serve federal employees believe that once individuals who may have had information compromised receive the notifications, the phone calls will start coming in.

The OPM also said last week it will be offering credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to federal employees affected by the data breach.

Willa Adkisson, collections officer for the $14 million-asset, Birmingham, Ala.-based Federal Employees CU, told News Now that the credit union hasn’t had any calls regarding the breach yet, but that the credit union will be prepared once they do.  

“We’re pretty small,” Adkisson said. “We all do a little bit of everything.”

Other Resources

Stop the Data Breaches

Identity Theft: Who’s Got Your Number? electronic member seminar kit

Anytime Adviser ID Theft coach

SilverSky/CUNA Strategic Services