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FDIC Consumer News - Spring 2001
Coming Soon: Mandatory Disclosure of ATM Fees
Under new rules from the Federal Reserve Board, if you use an ATM operated by an institution where you don't have an account, you must be notified early of any fee charged to non-customers and have the chance to end the transaction.
The Fed's rules implement provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 requiring ATM operators to post this fee information on a sign at the ATM as well as provide it on the machine's screen (or on a paper notice) before a consumer is committed to a transaction. The new rules took effect March 9, 2001, but compliance isn't mandatory until October 1 of this year in order to give institutions time to make necessary changes to their ATM systems.
New Federal Web Sites Offer One-Stop Assistance
A new U.S. government Internet site, USA.gov, offers one-stop access to online consumer information from all federal agencies, including the FDIC. The site, managed by the General Services Administration, enables consumers to search through government documents for information on topics ranging from dieting to deposit insurance.
Also, a Web site from the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force offers consumers a central location for information about fraud and crime prevention. The same site also allows you to make reports about suspected instances of fraud so they can be shared with law enforcement officials in the U.S. and around the world.
Read This Before Recycling That Old Computer
Thinking about selling, donating or disposing of an old personal computer? If so, federal officials urge you to delete financial records, tax returns and other personal information from your PC.
Why? Because computer files often contain Social Security numbers, birth dates, bank account numbers and other personal information that can be used to commit "identity theft"—to make purchases or get cash using your name.
One source of information on the subject is a brochure originally published for National Aeronautics and Space Administration employees by NASA's Office of Inspector General. It included this warning: Just choosing to "delete" files using the basic commands for your keyboard or mouse won't do the job, because the deleted information still can be easily retrieved from your computer's hard drive. The brochure instead suggested using software available from computer stores that is formatted to completely erase computer files.
How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft by "Pretext" Callers
The Federal Trade Commission has published a brochure offering tips on how to protect yourself from a "pretexter." That's what law enforcement officials call someone who uses false pretenses to trick consumers or financial institutions into giving out (usually over the phone) personal information such as bank or brokerage account balances. A pretexter then sells those facts and figures to third parties.
Read Pretexting: Your Personal Information Revealed online or order a free copy by calling the FTC's Consumer Response Center toll-free at (877) FTC-HELP (that's 382-4357).
Note: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act also made pretexting a federal crime, and the FTC has brought charges recently in several cases. Also, the FDIC and other bank regulatory agencies have issued guidance to financial institutions about how to protect customer information from pretext callers.
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