Consumers face financial issues in their retirement years ranging from how to maintain their lifestyle and pay for medical expenses on a fixed income to avoiding scams that target the elderly. To help older adults make informed decisions and protect their assets, the Summer 2013 issue of FDIC Consumer News features a collection of articles entitled "Financial Tips for Seniors." Other timely topics include avoiding wire transfer scams, new protections for sending money abroad, things to keep in mind when considering adjustable-rate mortgages, basic points about Health Savings Accounts, and help for student loan borrowers having payment problems.
E-mail Claiming to Be From the FDIC – January 30, 2013
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.
While the e-mails exhibit variations in the "From" and "Subject" lines, the messages are similar.
The fraudulent e-mails are addressed to the attention of the "Accounting Department" and meant to notify recipients that that that "ACH and WIRE transactions" are being blocked until "a special security software" is installed.
They then instruct recipients to go to a Web site for instructions on how to download the necessary files by clicking on a hyper-link provided (Note: the Web site addresses (URL) vary widely).
This e-mail and link are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users' computers. Recipients should not click on the link provided.
The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers or business account holders.
NOTICE OF EXPIRATION OF THE TEMPORARY FULL FDIC INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR NONINTEREST-BEARING TRANSACTION ACCOUNTS
By operation of federal law, beginning January 1, 2013, funds deposited in a noninterest-bearing transaction account (including an Interest on Lawyers Trust Account) no longer will receive unlimited deposit insurance coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Beginning January 1, 2013, all of a depositor's accounts at an insured depository institution, including all noninterest-bearing transaction accounts, will be insured by the FDIC up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount ($250,000), for each deposit insurance ownership category.
For more information about FDIC insurance coverage of noninterest-bearing transaction accounts, visit http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/unlimited/expiration.html
Check Scams: What Every Bank Customer Should Know. Sept., 2012
Good, well-known bank customers are being scammed in growing numbers, varying in amounts from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These scams all have two things in common.
First, the crooks convince the good bank customer that they are "trusting" the victim with their funds. Second, a check of some sort is sent to be deposited into the victim's account. The check may appear to be a U.S. Government check, a cashier's check, or a check drawn on a large, well-known company; it may even be a check drawn on a Canadian bank or a stolen check which has been chemically washed to remove the original payee and altered to show the victim as the payee. The crooks then convince the victim to send part of the check proceeds to an accomplice as soon as the bank will allow the customer to withdraw the funds. Reasons vary for sending money back: for alleged taxes, licenses, fees, or attorney fees for the deal. The stories are sometimes very believable.
Most of these scams fall into the "too good to be true" category. If it seems too good to be true, it is. If you are asked to cash a check for a stranger and send someone part of the money, you are being scammed. You will also be liable for the check. Bottom line: don't do it. It could save you from a long-term financial mess.
Fraud Alert: BBB Issues Nationwide Warning, July 2012
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a nationwide warning about a new scam claiming that President Obama will pay consumers' utility bills through a federal program.
How the Scam Works:
Consumers are being contacted via telephone, fliers, social media and text messages and various other means with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payment to utility bills.
To receive the money, scammers claim to need the consumers Social Security Number (SSN), financial institution routing number and account number. In return, the consumers are given a fraudulent financial institution routing number to use in order to pay their utility bills through an automated telephone service.
The payment service initially seems to accept the payment but then declines it within a few days of finding the banking information to be invalid. The consumers bill has not been paid and his/her SSN and personal financial information have been compromised.
The BBB offers the following tips to help consumers avoid becoming victim of this scam:
• Never provide your SSN, credit card number or banking information to anyone who calls you, regardless of whom they claim to be representing.
• If you receive a call claiming to be your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill.
• Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask the employee for proper identification.
• Think safety first, always. Do not give in to high pressure tactics for information over the phone or in person.
The following document is a valuable resource in the event your identity is stolen: