Much media attention has been devoted to the changes coming in February 2010 regarding credit card policies, changes in interest rates, and overdraft charges. Many banks have been making rapid changes to existing credit card holders’ accounts, increasing rates and lowering limits, in preparation for the imminent changes enacted last fall by legislation. You need to read the notices and fine print on any bank or credit or credit card communications you receive, to ensure you aren’t “surprised” by changes affecting your account.
Much less if any media attention has been devoted to the changes banks and lenders have been slowly making within the fine print regarding fraud perpetrated against your accounts. In an earlier post I described how traditionally a customer would identify potential or actual fraudulent activity within their account, notify their financial institution, and after completing an affidavit for the bank, would have their account restored. In recent years many banks enforced “timely” notifying the bank, but that generally meant within 30 days of receiving your latest statement.
With the transition underway for many institutions from paper statements to on-line access and electronic statements, less scrutiny is likely and fraudulent activity can be missed, possibly for months. Less scrutiny or worse complacency could cost you going forward.
More alarming is a notice I just received on my line of credit. This shows the fraud risk shift is expanding to all types of accounts, and not just traditional bank checking or savings accounts. The policy change with this well-known national bank indicated I had days to notify the bank, or bear the risk of loss from the activity.
My advice again is to pay attention to what your banks, investment firms and lenders are sending you, and read them carefully, or you could end up being “surprised” when you alert the institution because something happened within one of your accounts.