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ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) yesterday formed a strategic partnership with Tempe, Ariz.-based LifeLock, identity theft protection solutions provider, to help FMI's grocer members restore their customers' identities if they are stolen.
"When even the federal government has trouble maintaining the security of our personal data, it is time to take action to protect ourselves, our members and their customers from hackers and identity thieves," said FMI president and c.e.o. Tim Hammonds. "LifeLock takes a proactive approach to prevent identity theft. If a customer is victimized, LifeLock will take all the actions necessary to restore the person's identity and compensate them for financial losses and legal expenses."
LifeLock's services include:
- Stopping pre-approved credit card and loan offers through the mail, common tactics for identity thieves looking to steal personal information.
- Reducing the volume of junk mail into shopper's homes.
- Placing automatic fraud alerts on customer credit reports with the three major credit bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
- Providing identity theft protection for children, which LifeLock said is the nation's only such service.
- Covering losses up to $1 million for customers whose identities are stolen.
FMI has struck a volume deal with LifeLock that enables its 1,500 member companies to provide this service to employees and customers at discounted prices. Under the program, FMI members are also eligible for revenue-sharing opportunities based on customer subscriptions.
The identities of as many as nine million Americans are stolen each year, costing them $1.1 billion, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Even taxpayer records are not safe; According to the U.S. Treasury Department inspector general, the IRS reported the loss or theft of at least 490 computers from 2003-2006, FMI said.