When Del-One (Delaware Federal Credit Union) and DEXSTA Federal Credit Union held
community shred days in 2006, thousands of people – including many non-members – showed up to destroy
old financial statements, credit card bills, and anything else that identity thieves could fish out of the trash.
Nationwide, identity theft accounts for 37 percent of all consumer fraud, According to the
Federal Trade Commission, 8.9 million people were identity theft victims in 2006, costing consumers approximately
$56.6 billion. Most identity theft is low-tech: dumpster diving, mail theft, stolen business documents or personal
papers containing confidential information, stolen purses and wallets.
Obviously many consumers understand the danger of identity theft, since DEXSTA
Del-One branch manager, Lisa Brewer, helps an Operation Delaware Shred attendee prepare
his documents for the free, on-site, mobile shredder
FCU had over 400 people attend its one-day event at the end of April, and Del-One had over 550 families attend
at events held in three locations.
The shred initiatives came to fruition with the help of several sponsors. DEXSTA FCU joined
with radio stations WSTW and WDEL, who helped promote the credit union’s Community Shred-A-Thon. WDEL
broadcasted a live radio show where credit union management explained how credit unions are different and the
importance of protecting against identity theft.
Del-One used a military theme to help promote the event, which was positioned as “Operation
Delaware Shred…help fight the battle against identity theft.”
The credit union co-sponsored the event with Clear Channel Radio. Secondary sponsors included
the Delaware Attorney General’s office, the Consumer Protection Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice,
AARP Delaware, and Document Security Management. Del-One’s event was held on three different dates in
January at Wilmington’s Riverfront, the credit union’s Blue Hen branch in Dover, and its branch
in New Castle.
The amount of paper shredded during these events was phenomenal. At the DEXSTA FCU event held
at Prices Corner over 7,500 pounds of paper was shredded. According to CEO Jerry King, “Everyone was very
appreciative and impressed. Many were interested
DEXSTA FCU members line up to have materials shredded
in watching the window to see the paper actually being shredded.”
Del-One’s three-location event doubled that figure with 14,000 pounds of documents for
the shredder. Sharee Coleman, Del-One’s vice president of marketing, commented that the event was so successful
that more are planned for 2007. “The success of these events can be attributed to the communications plan
supported by all the sponsors, the provision of a timely and useful service at no charge to any Delaware consumer,
and the number of people reached.”
The idea for these events was to ease fears of identity theft, but along the way these credit
unions have discovered a side benefit: increased name recognition. Both credit unions have gained new members
through this initiative. However, both groups would agree that the primary benefit of the venture is community
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