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.

Comments to California Department of Insurance Concerning Privacy of Personal Financial and Medical Record Information

We are pleased to see that the proposed regulations, as revised, include a number of changes that will benefit individual privacy interests. We commend the staff of the Department for efforts to balance multiple interests and their willingness to consider our concerns about loss of personal privacy.

Oversight Hearing On Financial Privacy and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act

ongress knew that the 1999 Gramm-Leach Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) - a law long-sought by the financial industry to encourage the creation of integrated financial services firms -- would exacerbate already-identified financial privacy threats. So  Congress incorporated Title V to protect financial privacy, which included the following five key provisions. The most important and most successful is the last: the fail-safe states' rights provision allowing states to enact stronger financial privacy laws.

Lost in the Fine Print: Readability of Financial Privacy Notices (Hochhauser)

Readability analyses of 60 financial privacy notices found that they are written at a 3rd-4th year college reading level, instead of the junior high school level that is recommended for materials written for the general public. Consumers will have a hard time understanding the notices because the writing style uses too many complicated sentences and too many uncommon words.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Comments in Support of CFPB’s Complaint Narrative Proposal

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
Comments in Support of CFPB’s Complaint Narrative Proposal

Docket Number: CFPB-2014-0016


https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/23/2014-17274/disclosure-of-consumer-complaint-narrative-data 


Submitted by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse


Sept. 22, 2014

Director Richard Cordray 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

1700 G Street N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20552


Dear Director Cordray:

Introduction.  The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization, established 22 years ago in 1992 and located in San Diego, California.

The PRC takes complaints and questions from the general public on a variety of informational privacy issues. These include:  debt collection, financial privacy, online privacy, social media, medical records, employment topics, among others.

New Chip-Enabled Credit and Debit Cards: What Do They Mean for You?

Now that an October 1, 2015 deadline has passed, many credit and debit card issuers are replacing older magnetic stripe credit and debit cards with new chip-enabled cards. Likewise, some retailers are updating point-of-sale card readers at their cash registers to accept these chip-enabled cards.

What are chip cards?

Chip cards are another name for EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards, which use a global standard for authenticating card transactions. EMV cards are “smart” cards that have a chip embedded into the card. Unlike traditional credit cards, EMV cards need not rely upon the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. EMV cards provide greater security than traditional cards and have been the standard in Europe for years.

Deep Insert ATM Skimmers May Pose a Risk to Your Money

Most of us have heard about ATM skimmers.  They are card readers attached to an ATM that can steal the data off your debit or ATM card's magnetic stripe.  The data can then be used to create a clone your card.  Typically, skimmers can be easy to detect if you know what to look for.  However, a new breed of ATM skimmers known as deep insert skimmers can be much more difficult to spot.  These are wafer-thin devices hidden inside the card acceptance slot of the ATM.  They are virtually impossible to detect when on an ATM.

Using an ATM (or for that matter, a credit card reader in a retail store) always poses some degree of risk.  However, there are steps you can take to better protect yourself.

Opt Out Sample of Sharing Financial Information Letter


[Date]

[Your address]

[Name of company]

[Company's address as shown in the privacy notice]

RE: Opt-Out Instructions for Account #______________

Dear [name if given in the privacy notice]:

Following are my instructions with regard to your information sharing and sales policies:

1. You do not have my permission to share my personally identifiable information with
nonaffiliated third party companies or individuals. I am asserting my rights under the

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