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New Certification Seal Identifies Merchants Committed to Fighting Identity Theft
Date:3/2/2009

Merchant Protection Program Launches During National Consumer Protection Week March 1-7, 2009

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Data breaches increased 50 percent in 2008 with the largest increase occurring at corporations and small businesses. In response to this trend and the fact that 86 percent of data breaches could be prevented, Identity Force has announced the launch of the Merchant Protection Program (www.identityforce.com/MPP) in honor of National Consumer Protection Week.

The Identity Force Merchant Protection Program is the first and only data breach prevention and identity protection program developed to help consumers easily identify businesses that are committed to securing personal information and fighting identity theft. Certified merchants will display a seal on doorways and cash registers to designate that they have agreed to compliance, education and consumer protection best practices.

Identity Force is the number one provider of identity theft solutions for the Federal Government and their Identity Protection, Compliance and Data Breach Solutions have the exclusive endorsement of the American Hospital Association. CEO Steve Bearak is leveraging this expertise and infrastructure to provide a comprehensive yet affordable program for small business.

"Most small businesses just don't have the time, knowledge or resources to effectively manage identity protection for their business, customers and employees," Bearak explained. "Since we already work with many of the agencies associated with National Consumer Protection Week, we wanted to support their efforts by launching this cost effective identity theft solution for businesses."

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a collaborative effort of agencies including the FTC, Better Business Bureau and U.S. Post Office to empower consumers by highlighting current consumer protection and education efforts across the country. The Merchant Protection Program empowers consumers by helping them identify certified businesses.

The Identity Force Merchant Protection Program designation is useful for any business that deals with personally identifiable information, which can range from credit card numbers, names and addresses to social security numbers, birthdates or medical information. The certification, which is priced as low as $10 per month, begins with a compliance review covering PCI standards and state and federal laws, as well as a risk assessment. Certified merchants receive customized fraud protection employee training, regularly updated policy recommendations, compliance updates, network scanning to identity potential vulnerabilities, access to fraud specialists and a $50,000 service guarantee to protect their customers, employees and business in the event of a breach.

According to recent research from Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers are concerned about identity theft protection with more than 77 percent of consumers intending to stop shopping at a merchant that suffers a data breach and 85 percent rewarding companies who are perceived as security leaders with increased purchases.

"Consumers are now well informed to look for a trusted seal when making an online purchase. We hope to provide that same uniform expectation when looking for a trusted brick and mortar business with our certified seal," Bearak explained. Bearak noted that the certification seals are reissued annually to ensure business' displaying the seal remain complaint.

For more information about the Identity Force Merchant Protection Program visit www.identityforce.com/MPP.

National organizers of this year's NCPW include AARP, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Federation of America, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Federal Citizen's Information Center, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the National Consumers League, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Postal Service.

For additional information about NCPW, visit consumer.gov/ncpw.

About Identity Force

Identity Force is a leading provider of complete, 360° proactive identity theft protection for individuals, businesses and government agencies. Identity Force was launched in 2005 as a response to the dramatic increase in identity theft crimes in the United States. A division of Bearak Reports, Inc. which was founded in 1992, Identity Force draws on broad, deep expertise in information verification services for its complete, proven approach to identity theft protection. Identity Force's corporate office is located in Framingham, Massachusetts. For more information about Identity Force, call 1-877-IDFORCE or visit www.identityforce.com to learn more.


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SOURCE Identity Force
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