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CUNA Mutual is helping credit unions in the fight against check fraud

Thieves used to commit check fraud by simply writing checks on closed accounts, altering checks or stealing checkbooks.

Today's identity theft and check fraud criminals are craftier, moving indiscriminately from one financial institution to the next and inventing new and often bizarre scams. Their common ground is the ability to find a weakness in your credit union's fraud defenses. They are growing in numbers, and their methods are becoming more sophisticated and their scams more intricate.

CUNA Mutual has been very concerned about the rapid rise in check fraud losses. As part of our credit union protection solutions, we've developed a cadre of tools for our Bond policyholders to combat check fraud.

Fraud prevention starts with education

Front-line employees are the first line of defense against check fraud. Our risk management specialists work one-on-one with credit unions to help educate staff about the growing prevalence of check fraud and train them to spot obvious signs of such behavior.

Among CUNA Mutual's educational tools, exclusive to Bond policyholders, is the online Protection Resource Center at www.cunamutual.com, a one-stop shop that features

comprehensive information on current risk trends, risk

management tools and information, as well as articles and updates on our services and latest innovations. The center consists of timely articles and announcements released to policyholders through CU Protection News; a comprehensive collection of brochures and risk management solutions within the Loss Prevention Library; and our RISK Alert program, a risk and fraud awareness program that notifies credit unions of the latest trends, scams and risks.

Earlier this year we developed an interactive training kit for credit union front-line staff. The kit incorporates an interactive Check Fraud CD-ROM and related support materials. These help build awareness of check fraud issues and assist credit union employees in spotting check scams before they become losses.

Technology to complement CUNA Mutual's risk management efforts

As thieves continue to take advantage of new and more sophisticated

technology, we know the only way to thwart fraudulent scams is for financial institutions to work together to create a strong line of defense.

That's why CUNA Mutual elected to team with Primary Payment Systems(r) (PPS(r)), a Concord Risk Management Company, to bolster our check and identity fraud efforts. After considerable research, we concluded that the package of solutions from PPS is the most comprehensive in the industry. PPS is a recognized leader in the industry, and its suite of Early Warning(r) solutions is the obvious choice for meeting the needs of

credit unions of all sizes.

In its role as Trusted CustodianTM, PPS facilitates the exchange of information on high risk accounts, transactions and identities through its National Shared DatabasesTM, by far the largest initiative of its kind. Various organizations and financial institutions contribute their most current data to combat fraud and mitigate losses. The suite of Early Warning solutions from PPS extends accessibility of this data to all credit unions:

* IDENTITY CHEKsm Web Service performs identity validation, logical verification, OFAC screening and fraud detection as part of one integrated solution.

* DECISION CHEKsm MICR and DEPOSIT CHEK(r) Inquiry provide access to the most current status of information on nearly 200 million draftable accounts.

PPS is headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, and currently works with hundreds of financial institutions, many of them credit unions.

Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union, West Lafayette, IN, has seen excellent results since going live with PPS in December, 2002, according to Evelyn Royer, assistant vice president, compliance and risk management. "PPS has helped our credit union minimize its check fraud losses," Royer said. "Within three months of implementation, we recouped our initial investment. We consider PPS as another insurance policy."

Check fraud isn't going away, and the people who practice the crime are getting better at it with each passing day. CUNA Mutual and PPS can provide you with the solutions to protect your credit union and your members. This is an essential operational investment that many credit unions have already made - one that is already paying off in reduced fraud losses.

For More Information

To make these solutions part of your credit union daily operations, call PPS at 1-866-282-8642, or visit www.primarypayments.com. If you have any other questions, please contact your CUNA Mutual Account Relationship Manager or the Credit Union Protection Response Center at 1-800-637-2676.

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