Common Sense Protections for Your Financial Information
To some scammers, older Americans are an attractive target — over a lifetime of saving, they may have built up a nest egg for retirement or equity in their home. Like Willie Sutton, scammers go where the money is. So banks and other financial institutions play a key role in protecting their customers from abuse and exploitation. Financial institutions are often in the best position to recognize suspicious activity relating to an account.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a federal law, provides important protections for consumers’ financial information. It requires financial institutions to secure people’s data and protect their privacy. Today, federal regulators that oversee financial institutions reminded these businesses that the law also includes common-sense exceptions to allow reporting of possible fraud or unauthorized transactions involving their customers’ accounts. In fact, in some cases, financial institutions are required to report questionable transactions.
Regardless of your age, it’s wise to pay attention to your own financial accounts. Some quick tips:
- Never send money to people you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
- Never pay money to collect a prize, sweepstakes, or lottery winning.
- If you get a check in the mail from someone you don’t know, don’t wire back any money.
- Keep your personal information to yourself. Don’t share it.
- Read your financial statements. Contact your bank or credit card company if you spot any unusual entries.
- Check your credit reports every year. They are free and easy to get at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you see any accounts that aren’t yours, call the number on the report to report it.
Check out our 1-minute audio tips to learn more about protecting your personal and financial information. And be sure to let us know about any suspicious behavior at 1-877-FTC-HELP or at ftc.gov/complaint.