Affinion Group, a leading global affinity marketer, has acquired CardCops, a Malibu, California-based ID theft protection, data monitoring and analysis technology solutions leader, further solidifying the group’s position as a the preeminent identity protection provider.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“As a leader in credit monitoring and identity theft protection, we are excited to add CardCops and its advanced technologies to our already extensive fraud prevention and protection solutions business,” said Tom Rusin, chief revenue officer and general manager of Affinion Group. “CardCops is the premiere ID theft watchdog on the Internet, and this innovative company Ã¢Â combined with our strong suite of ID theft prevention products Ã¢Â is ushering in a new era of identity fraud protection.”
CardCops was founded in 1999. Its pioneering technology monitors the Internet for fraudulent activity involving consumers’ personal information such as credit card account, debit card account. PIN numbers, social security numbers, mother’s maiden name and many other types of personal information. CardCops collects compromised personal information from foreign “underground” chat rooms where full sets of personal information are bought and sold by identity thieves for $10 to $30. CardCops’ exclusive technology will alert members instantly if their personal information has become compromised, and assist them with keeping their identity safe.
“Being part of the Affinion Group gives CardCops more resources to gather more data to deliver greater protection to Americans, e-commerce companies and businesses across the country,” said Dan Clements, chief executive officer of CardCops. “These ID thieves on foreign soil who attack Americans are the modern day bank robbers, and we can stop them before they even commit the crime.”
By using CardCops’ sophisticated monitoring capabilities and comprehensive proprietary database, Affinion Group will help financial institutions protect customers’ vital data while enabling online merchants to sell products and services securely.
Affinion Group and CardCops partnered last year to launch a sophisticated new tool called ID Secure that uses cutting-edge public records, Social Security number and credit card monitoring technology to fight identity theft. ID Secure (www.idsecure.com), a revolutionary new solution, arms consumers with an unprecedented way to proactively manage their identity information and avert potential ID theft and fraud.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, with 27.3 million victims in the past five years, and nearly 20 million in the past two years alone, according to a study from Javelin Strategy & Research. This crime costs more than $56 billion, or $6,383 per victim, annually, and has become 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.
CardCops (www.cardcops.com) protects consumers from identity theft by providing them with the means of determining whether their credit card, social security number, or other personal information has been compromised, even before it is used to commit a crime; and helps global Internet merchants reduce losses due to fraud by identifying transactions involving stolen credit cards. CardCops collects compromised data from cyberspace and makes it available in “real time” to consumers, merchants and banks. CardCops began scouring cyberspace for compromised personal and financial information in 2000, and has supplied information to the Credit Card Associations, the FBI, the Secret Service, various Attorneys General offices, and other law enforcement agencies. What is unique about much of the data found by CardCops is that it has not yet been used maliciously, and therefore enables the CardCops customer to take pro-active steps to prevent identity theft and fraud from occurring.
About Affinion Group
Affinion Group (www.affiniongroup.com) is a leading affinity direct marketer of value-added membership, insurance and package enhancement programs and services to consumers. With more than 30 years of experience, Affinion Group currently offers its programs and services worldwide through more than 5,200 affinity partners. Its diversified base of affinity partners includes leading companies in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, retail, travel, telecommunications, utilities and Internet. Affinion Group also has a growing loyalty solutions operation that administers points-based loyalty programs. Based in Norwalk, Conn., Affinion Group has approximately 3,000 employees throughout the United States and in 14 countries across Europe.
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. Other ID theft protection services in Affinion’s thriving 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. Last year, Affinion Group introduced ID Secure, the next generation of ID theft protection that arms consumers with tools to proactively manage their identity information and avert potential ID theft and fraud via the Internet.