Massachusetts' Harbor One Making Photo IDs Of All Of Its Membership

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In an effort to reduce the risk of identity theft, HarborOne Credit Union here is making photo IDs of all of its members.

The $1.1-billion credit union formerly known as Brockton CU is among the first financial institutions in the nation to adopt such a program.

"ID scanning is part of HarborOne's proactive approach to protecting our members and their accounts," said Elaine Keneklis, SVP-Branch Administration Division. "If a deceitful person tried to take money from another member's account, the scanned ID will not match the person in front of the teller, and the fraudulent transaction will be stopped."

Identity theft is one of America's fastest-growing criminal threats. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 635,000 fraud and identity theft complaints costing consumers about $547 million were reported last year, making it the No. 1 source of all complaints.

Leo MacNeil, SVP at HarborOne, said itU invested $20,000 in the technology that includes 90 scanners for the 12 branches. Member service representatives use them to record drivers' licenses from new members as it encourages existing members to participate by providing either a drivers license or a photo. The process takes about three seconds and, once in the system, will allow staff from any of the branches access for identification purposes.

Since being introduced last November, 15,000 members-just under 15% of the total membership, have participated.

MacNeil said he expects that number to grow as more members visit the branches and become aware of its benefits. "This whole identity theft issue is leading us to think about running seminars on various issues including identity theft protection."

The technology was provided by HarborOne's data processing provider, COCC in Avon, Conn.

"Our account processing system allows credit unions to accept photos and other forms of identification," said Brent Biernat, Director of Network Services at COCC. "Older account systems are restricted to words and numbers. Using our system, HarborOne is able to access the ID information throughout their branch network and their back office, making this a truly comprehensive approach to preventing ID theft."

Since HarborOne's success with the technology, MacNeil said COCC has made it available to other financial clients.

Added benefits include enhanced service to members. "There have always been issues about member identity such as new tellers having to ask long-time members for their identification," MacNeil said.

Richard W. Bastiansen, SVP-operations at HarborOne, added that "the new scanning device has the added benefit of streamlining compliance with the US Patriot Act, section 326 regarding the mandatory Customer Identification Program."

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