Affinion Group Launches BreachShield Solutions to Help Businesses Manage All Stages of a Data Breach

NORWALK, Conn., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Affinion Group, a leading global affinity marketer and preeminent provider of identity theft protection services, has launched one of the first data breach security protection and ID theft services to help financial institutions, retailers and businesses effectively prepare for, manage, and respond to data breaches, one of the biggest threats facing businesses today and a situation that puts customer data and relationships at risk.

So far this year, there have been 141 data breaches affecting more than 7.1 million people, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. At least 38 states have enacted legislation that mandates businesses must disclose when a breach occurs, which makes management and protection a critical issue for companies.

BreachShield security experts can develop an incident response plan for a business prior to a breach in order to increase the efficiency of the response and minimize confusion and damages. Should a breach occur, BreachShield offers businesses personalized service from a dedicated rapid response team available 24 hours a day. The team develops and implements a comprehensive, fully- compliant incident response, including documenting all required information and protecting the impacted individuals from ID theft and other misuse of their personal data.

"When businesses suffer a breach, their most important assets -. their customers -. are at risk," said Tom Rusin , president of Affinion Group North America . "BreachShield guides businesses through the incident response process and provides them the tools that they need to face this threat to their customers and their brands."

Following a breach, BreachShield allows businesses to react quickly, notify their customers immediately and help defend them against identity theft. The solution offers an array of options that business can choose to offer customers, including daily credit monitoring, credit scoring, Social Security Number monitoring, ID theft insurance and an ID theft resolution center with dedicated resolution caseworkers. BreachShield enables businesses to customize and designate notification methods, program configuration, low- cost consumer enrollment options and other key aspects of consumer protection initiatives.

Companies can benefit from improved management of security breaches in other ways. Companies that have a strong breach disclosure plan in place which includes customer notification can minimize reputational damage. A Javelin Strategy & Research study found that more than half of all consumers report that they view companies who have taken the time to notify them of a data security breach more favorably. In addition, 84 percent of consumers say they are more likely to shop at merchants who are viewed as data security leaders.

BreachShield is the latest weapon in Affinion's growing arsenal of ID theft protection solutions, which include such leading-edge fraud protection services as PrivacyGuard, ID Secure, CardCops, PC SafetyPlus and Hotline. For more information about BreachShield, visit www.breachshield.com. Information about Affinion's other ID theft protection solutions can be found at www.affinion.com.

"Data breaches are one of the most prevalent breeding grounds for ID theft today, and there's an even greater need in the marketplace for innovative identity theft technologies that can offer security and peace of mind," said Frank Abagnale, former master forger, leading fraud prevention expert and Affinion spokesperson, whose life story inspired Steven Spielberg's movie Catch Me if You Can. "Breach protection solutions such as BreachShield gives businesses and organizations one of the best ID theft prevention tools in the marketplace."

Some of the most notorious data breach cases in the past few years are the ChoicePoint breach, which affected 167,000 people, the Veterans Administration breach, affecting 28.6 million veterans and the TJX Companies breach, which affected 45.7 million consumers. And just last week, a computer data breach at Hannaford Brothers supermarket chain affecting some 4.2 million people was disclosed.

As data breaches continue to spiral out of control, so does ID Theft. According to another study from Javelin Strategy & Research, there have been 44.8 million victims of identity theft in the past five years in the United States , and nearly 18 million in the past two years alone. This crime costs more than $51 billion or $5,920 per victim annually, becoming so prevalent that an identity thief strikes on average every 3.5 seconds. In fact, ID theft has now surpassed drug trafficking as the No. 1 crime in America, according to the Justice Department .

About Affinion Group, Inc.

As a global leader with nearly 35 years of experience, Affinion Group (www.affinion.com) enhances the value of its partners' customer relationships by developing and marketing valuable loyalty, membership, checking account, insurance and other compelling products and services. Leveraging its expertise in product development and targeted marketing, Affinion helps generate significant incremental revenue for more than 5,300 affinity partners worldwide, including many of the largest and most respected companies in financial services, retail, travel, and Internet commerce. Based in Norwalk, Conn., the company has approximately 3,300 employees throughout the United States and in 10 countries across Europe . Affinion holds the prestigious ISO 27001 certification for the highest information security practices, is PCI compliant and Cybertrust certified.

Affinion Group has established itself as a premiere security, credit monitoring and identity theft protection innovator. It launched HotLine, a leading ID theft, credit card, fraud protection and security service in 1969. PrivacyGuard, a comprehensive membership credit monitoring product which was created in 1992, remains one of the largest in the U.S. In 2006, ID Secure (www.idsecure.com), a sophisticated tool that uses leading-edge public records, Social Security number and credit monitoring technology to fight ID theft, was born. Other ID theft protection services in Affinion's growing security business include PC SafetyPlus, an identity theft software service that protects members with a personal firewall to thwart hackers and other online ID threats. PC SafetyPlus software features automatic updates and service upgrades for protection against prevailing computer viruses, spyware and worms. Affinion Group is part of the steering committee of the Identity Theft Prevention and Identity Management Standards Panel (IDSP) and is a member of the Staples Security Council.

SOURCE Affinion Group



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