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Members Pay for Data Breaches - A Message From Our President

Card SecurityAt Rivermark, we believe protecting the privacy and security of your accounts is our most important responsibility, and we have card monitoring programs in place to detect suspicious activity.

When we discover a data breach at retailers like Target or Home Depot, we closely monitor the situation and share what has been made available to us with our members, strongly encouraging them to monitor their account history and working with them to resolve any suspicious activity.

The possibility of having your personal financial data stolen is enough of a burden. You shouldn't have to worry about who is going to clean up the mess and pay the bills for the fraud. In 2014, there were over 750 data security breaches and over 85 million data records exposed.

If you're like most people, you probably assume that merchants are responsible since their security failures caused the theft of your data. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Credit unions like Rivermark bear the brunt of these costs after a merchant data breach, even though we (and members like you) had nothing to do with it.

To give you one example, after the Target breach, credit unions were left on the hook for $30.6 million and credit unions reissued 4.6 million credit and debit cards. Because we are not-for-profit cooperatives owned by our members, you ultimately foot the bill.

Currently, merchants can shift most of the cost of their data breaches to others, which means there is no incentive for them to invest the time and money needed to increase their data security. That's wrong for consumers and it's bad for our economy.

That's why Rivermark and other credit unions across the country are working together to improve protections for consumers who are victims of merchant data breaches.

We're calling on Congress to step up and protect credit union members like you:

  1. By holding merchants accountable for their data breaches.
  2. By requiring merchants to reimburse credit unions for the costs they incur for data breaches.
  3. By allowing credit unions to share with members the name of a merchant causing a data breach. 

I hope you'll consider lending your voice to this important effort. Please send an email to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Tell them you want to take action to protect consumers like you.

Thank you for your time.

Scott Burgess