FDIC Consumer News
Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage
The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.
Reminder: Beware of
Fraudulent E-Mail Requests
The FDIC continues to warn consumers about fake Web sites and e-mails that attempt to trick consumers into divulging valuable personal information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs).
In the typical scam, which law enforcement officials call "phishing" schemes, consumers receive an e-mail purportedly from a company or financial institution they may do business with or from a government agency. The thieves ask for personal information that, if provided, can be used to make unauthorized withdrawals from your bank account, pay for online purchases using your credit card, or even sell your personal information to other thieves. Even the FDIC's name has been used fraudulently in these scams.
For more information about how to protect against these types of frauds, see "When Internet Scam Artists Go 'Phishing,' Don't Take the Bait," in the Winter 2003/2004 issue of
FDIC Consumer News, online at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin0304/phishing.html.
Federal Agencies Publish Brochure on Predatory Lending
Ten federal agencies, including the FDIC, have jointly published English and Spanish versions of a brochure that alerts consumers to the potential pitfalls of using their home as security for a loan, including a high-cost "predatory" loan.
The brochure, "Putting Your Home on the Loan Line Is Risky Business," warns that borrowing from an unscrupulous lender, especially one that offers a high-cost loan using your home as collateral, could result in the loss of your home as well as your money. The brochure also provides tips for getting the best possible deal and includes information about federal consumer protection laws.
To read or copy the brochure online, go to the FDIC's web site at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/index.html. Single copies in English or Spanish also are available free of charge from the FDIC's Public Information Center.
Warning Issued About
Some Credit Counseling Firms
Although credit counseling organizations can provide valuable assistance to people facing serious debt troubles, some firms may be using their non-profit or tax-exempt status to mislead consumers into paying large fees for questionable services. That's the warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in recent consumer alerts and in congressional testimony March 24 before an investigations subcommittee of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Some of the alleged abuses involve hidden or extra fees in connection with "debt management plans," under which the consumer sends money each month to a credit counseling organization for it to distribute to creditors according to a negotiated schedule.
Among the FTC and IRS suggestions: Closely review the fees, services and the terms of any offer. Consider using an organization that provides credit counseling and education instead of simply enrolling all clients in debt management plans. And, check with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau about any complaints against a credit counseling agency.
For more guidance, start with the FTC pamphlet "Fiscal Fitness: Choosing a Credit Counselor," which is available online at
www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fiscal.htm or by calling the FTC toll-free at 877-382-4357.