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Proposed Rules for Credit Cards will Better Consumers

credit_cardProposed Rules for Credit Cards will Better Consumers

IRS Refund "Phish"—Faking e-mails from the IRS is a popular "phish." This recent one uses a tax refund as the hook.

 

 


Proposed rules for credit cards will better protect consumers

May 2, the Federal Reserve Board proposed rules under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) to enhance consumer protection by addressing unfair or deceptive credit card practices by banks. The National Credit Union Administration and the Office of Thrift Supervision (which supervises savings institutions) concurrently proposed essentially the same rules.

Under these rules credit card lenders would be:

  • prohibited from increasing rates on pre-existing balances except in specific limited circumstances (such as being more than 30 days late with a payment)
  • prohibited from applying payments in excess of the minimum in ways that maximize interest charges
  • prohibited from using the “two cycle” method to compute interest
  • required to apply promotional rates in excess of the minimum payment to higher-rate balances first
  • required to give a reasonable amount of time to make payments

You can read more about the proposed rules on the Federal Reserve website. You can also file online your own comment on the rules and/or share your experience. Consumers Union notes that consumer comments make a big difference and urges consumers to make their voice heard. IQ agrees. Consumers Union offers a consumer tip sheet to help.

The three agencies are also proposing new rules to provide greater consumer protections related to overdrafts in checking accounts.


IRS Refund "Phish"

Faking e-mails from the IRS is a popular "phish." This recent one uses a tax refund as the hook.

The first clue that this is a "phish" is that the IRS never uses e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers.

Other clues that indicate this message is a "phish:"

  • Typos such as the amount (in red), which has comma instead of a decimal point.
  • The attachment (in blue) is a web page.
  • The stilted wording of the sentence, "Please view the message from the attachment file."
  • The emphasis in the last sentence on preventing fraudulent activity and further information theft.


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To avoid phishing scams remember:

  • Reputable companies, financial institutions, and government agencies NEVER send e-mails, make phone calls or send letters asking for personal information and account information they already have on file.
  • Never call the phone number in an e-mail message.
  • Never click on links in these sorts of e-mails.