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Buyer Beware: Tips from the FDIC on How to Protect Against Foreclosure Frauds, Easy Money Schemes and Other Costly Deals
Other Topics in the Latest FDIC Consumer News Include the Extension of $250,000 Deposit Insurance, More About Mortgage Modification Programs, and Shopping for a CD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2009
Media Contact:
Jay Rosenstein (202) 898-7303
jrosenstein@fdic.gov

Many people concerned about their mortgage, their job or their finances may be especially vulnerable to scams and other costly "fixes" for their problems. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation today issued a variety of tips to help consumers be on guard financially in the current economy. The advice was published in the Spring 2009 issue of FDIC Consumer News, the agency's quarterly newsletter for consumers. Among the topics covered:

  • Our latest tips for protecting against foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams that target homeowners having difficulty making their monthly mortgage payments;
  • A warning about frauds promising easy money -- supposedly from the government's economic stimulus package or from lenders or employers -- but ending with the victims losing money instead;
  • Examples of financial services that sound good but may come with heavy fees, such as certain programs to cover overdrafts (bounced checks or other withdrawals that would deplete a bank account) and credit cards advertised to help repair a damaged credit history;
  • Potential risks and costs associated with blank "convenience checks" that credit card companies send to their customers offering a quick way to write a loan, pay bills or transfer another debt to their account; and
  • Why an advertised interest rate on a short-term certificate of deposit (CD) that is far above the competition could be a marketing ploy by a non-bank company trying to sell uninsured, long-term investments that may not be in the consumer's best interest.

The latest issue also notes that, on May 19, Congress extended the temporary federal deposit insurance limit of $250,000 per depositor through December 31, 2013. This is important news, especially for people who have or plan to place long-term deposits, because the insurance limit would have reverted back to $100,000 per depositor on January 1, 2010, if Congress did not authorize the extension.

Other timely articles describe the Obama Administration's program for lowering monthly mortgage payments through refinancing opportunities and loan modifications; various tips on shopping for a CD; and an FDIC legal opinion clarifying the deposit insurance coverage of a pre-paid card if the bank holding the money for the card fails.

The Spring 2009 issue can be read or printed at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnspr09.

The goal of FDIC Consumer News is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information about financial matters, free of charge. Current and past issues, including special editions, are online at www.fdic.gov/consumernews.

There are two ways to subscribe to the quarterly FDIC Consumer News. To receive an e-mail about each new issue with links to stories, go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html. To receive the newsletter in the mail, free of charge, call the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-275-3342, send an e-mail to publicinfo@fdic.gov or write to the FDIC Public Information Center, 3501 North Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226.

The FDIC encourages financial institutions, government agencies, consumer organizations, educators, the media and anyone else to help make the tips and information in FDIC Consumer News widely available. The publication may be reprinted in whole or in part without advance permission. Organizations also may link to or mention the FDIC Web site.

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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 8,246 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars – insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-78-2009




Last Updated 5/27/2009 communications@fdic.gov