Customer Identification Programs for Financial Transactions


Fact Sheet 31Customer Identification Programs for Financial Transactions

If you opened a new bank or other financial account recently, you may have noticed you had to supply a lot more personal information than in the past. You may have assumed you had to prove you are you as a guard against the growing crime of identity theft. Not so.

Customer identification programs (CIPs) are now required by federal law to prevent financing of terrorist operations and money laundering. The requirements go beyond just verifying your identity. Banks must now keep records of identifying information and check customer names against terrorist lists. This applies to anyone who opens a new account.

This guide is intended to make you aware of new requirements for opening a financial account as well as the kinds of companies that must comply with the CIP Rules. We also provide some suggestions on how you can prepare yourself and become part of the process.

Comments to FTC: Collection of a Deceased Person's Debt


On October 8, 2010, the FTC announced a policy regarding debt collectors’ communications with third parties regarding a decedent’s debt. In this, the FTC expands the numbers of individuals a collector may contact when the debtor is deceased. We urge the Commission to reconsider this policy or at a minimum to offer guidance for individuals who may be contacted by a collector about a deceased consumer’s debt. We further urge the Commission to reconsider its policy regarding no enforcement for deceased debtor contacts.

New Federal Law Protects Gift Card Users


Is the gift card that you received for your birthday last month burning a hole in your pocket? Do you still have an unused gift card from the holidays? Consumers often have had to worry about using gift cards before they lost their value. That will now begin to change for the better.

Until recently, many gift cards users had few legal rights to protect them from fees and expiration dates. Although some states had laws protecting gift card users, there was no federal law offering nationwide consumer protections. That has now changed with a new federal law (the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act) that provides important protections for gift cards sold on or after August 22, 2010.

Want to Buy a $37 Soda?


Pay with a debit card and that refreshing soda on a hot day may give your wallet chills. Because of the way that most banks process debit card transactions, a $2.00 soda can generate $35 in bank fees. In this alert, we’ll highlight basic steps consumers should take to avoid the pernicious cycle of overdrafts and bank fees

Spring Cleaning Your Personal and Financial Records


Now that tax season is over, many people are wondering which personal and financial records they need to save for tax and other purposes. Some of us are packrats and like to save everything forever. Others can't wait to discard unwanted papers.

So what's the best way to decide whether to save or discard a record? Here are a few tips and information sources to help you decide what records you need to keep and for how long.

Dump Your Debit Card! New Guide Explains Your Card Payment Options


The PRC advises that most consumers should not use or carry a debit or check card.  The guide explains the eight major shortcomings of these cards and suggests alternatives for consumers to consider.  Paul Stephens, PRC’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, elaborated, “Scammers have become quite sophisticated in gaining access to your card information.  Most people don’t realize that lost, stolen, or compromised debit cards can provide an open door for fraudsters to empty your bank account."

Interagency Proposal for Model Privacy Form under the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)1 is pleased to comment on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR)2 to simplify the consumer disclosures required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLB”). With only a few minor suggestions, the PRC endorses and fully supports the model form adopted by the agencies. We direct our comments as follows:

The Case of the Disappearing Check: What is Electronic Check Conversion?


Electronic check conversion may be used when you make purchases in person at a store or when you mail a check to pay your credit card, utility or mortgage account payment. Either way, the growing use of electronic check conversion means you have to be more diligent than ever about tracking your payments and correcting errors in your account. When checks are processed electronically, your rights, remedies, and potential losses are governed by the federal Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Act. This is the same law that governs your ATM and debit card transactions.

Tell the IRS that Allowing Tax Preparers to Sell Taxpayer Data to Marketers Is a Bad Idea


At tax time, like most people, you are concerned about the bottom line: Will I get a refund or will I have to pay? Privacy may never enter your mind, but perhaps it should. Under a new IRS proposal, among the papers you are asked to sign, could be a consent form that gives your tax preparer your okay to sell your entire tax return.

Comments Submitted to the Internal Revenue Service: Disclosure and Use of Tax Preparation Data Notice 2005-93 and REG-137243-02


At no time is one's expectation of privacy greater than with tax preparation. The proposed rules address privacy concerns in some important ways by requiring consumer consent where none was previously required. At the same time, the rules open the door for far more insidious privacy invasions by allowing tax return information to be used for marketing and shared by preparers with "any person."

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