PITTSFIELD, Mass. — While credit and debit card breaches at leading retailers such as Target Corp. have members concerned, fraud is ever present, especially as online and mobile transaction rates increase. To this end, Greylock Federal Credit Union has taken a proactive measure to fortify members' first line of defense.

"We have been very active in our financial literacy efforts," said Jim Wojtaszek, Greylock FCU's vice president of marketing and public relations. "And we have found overtime that security issues reside with our members' home systems — so we asked ourselves what could we do?"

In an effort to ensure home banking security measures were top notch, Wojtaszek, along with Sheena Bradford, Greylock FCU's E-Commence manager, sought vendor assistance. "There are a lot of anti-viruses that do their best to keep up, but Trusteer Rapport focuses on members doing online banking," said Bradford.

The $1 billion Greylock FCU is among 100 financial institutions using Trusteer Rapport's virtual web-based online fraud protection software. With 70,002 members, 18,000 of which are active online banking users, the credit union thought it was necessary to invest in the service offered as a free download for all members.

"A lot of folks can't afford to pay for expensive fraud software and use the PC's default software, which doesn't offer enough protection," said Wojtaszek. The fee Greylock FCU pays for Trusteer Rapport's service, he added, is based on the amount of downloads/users. "This was something we needed to do for our members."

One Step Ahead Of Fraud
The majority of fraudulent attacks occur when a member unknowingly downloads malicious software/malware while browsing the Internet. The malware then secretly captures login information. When a member logs-in to the credit union's online banking platform, for example, the information is transferred to criminals.

Additionally, malware can enable criminals to manipulate transactions. The other common form of financial fraud is "phishing." In this case, criminals build fake websites that look similar to the credit union's website in hopes of securing log-in information that grants access to accounts.

"With members demanding more and more online banking capabilities like bill pay and person-to-person payments, there are more inherent dangers," said Wojtaszek.

And without proper security it could take days or even weeks for anti-virus vendors to identify and remove new variants of financial malware. This gives criminals a significant head start.

Bradford explained that Trusteer Rapport verifies that a member is connected to Greylock FCU's website. Next, the software locks down communication between the member computer and the credit union's website, which ensures safe and secure communication.

"If a virus is detected the member is automatically diverted from the website and the service is shut down," said Bradford, adding that an investigation into the fraudulent attack is undertaken before the member can return to conducting online banking transactions.

While the solution was adopted in August 2013, Greylock FCU took a few months to beta test the solution with employees, as well, to make sure the product was fully operational. Over the last six weeks, more than 730 members have downloaded the software.

"The feedback from employees and members so far has been extremely positive. Ideally we want to have full adoption, so that's the goal," said Wojtaszek. "We will continue to focus on member outreach and believe adoption rates will exponentially grow."

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