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The Federal Reserve’s new rules for credit card companies mean new credit card protections for you. Here are some key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on February 22, 2010.

credit card(“Identity Theft Act”)
The Act amended 18 U.S.C. §1028 by making identity theft a federal crime and directed the Federal Trade Commission to create and implement procedures in an effort to deter identity theft.

Applies to those who “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.”

The Federal Trade Commission is the agency responsible for implementing the Identity Theft Act.

Violations result in the following:

  • Maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and/or
  • Fine and forfeiture of personal property used or intended to be used when committing identity theft.

The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999

  • Subtitle A of Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act places restrictions on financial institutions when disclosing consumer financial information to nonaffiliated third parties. The Act requires financial institutions to give notice to their customers regarding its information-collection and information-sharing processes. The Act provides when consumers may or may not opt out from sharing their financial information to the third parties.- The whole act is divided into two web pages.
  • Its stated purpose is to set “forth standards for developing, implementing, and maintaining reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of consumer information.”
  • Establishes standards for financial institutions under its jurisdiction to safeguard their customers’ information, which is defined as “any record containing nonpublic personal information.”
  • Effective May 23, 2003

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § § 2510-2522)
Prohibits the interception of oral, wire, and electronic communications.
Brought as a civil action, you may recover preliminary and other equitable or declaratory relief.
The Attorney General may bring a civil action in district court to enjoin anyone who is engaged or will be engaging in a prohibited interception.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C.§ § 1030)
Deals with fraud and related activity in connection with computers.
Applies to those who (1) knowingly or intentionally without authorization or exceeds authorized access a computer and obtains specified information or (2) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer and obtains specified information listed in the Act.
Depending on the crime committed, punishment results in either a fine or imprisonment.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § § 1681-1681(v))
Its purpose is to create “accuracy and fairness of credit reporting.”

The Fair Credit Reporting Act covers

  • permissible uses of, information required in, disclosure of consumer reports
  • compliance procedures consumer reporting agencies must follow
  • disclosures to government agencies and consumers
  • procedures in case of disputed accuracy in a consumer’s file
  • civil liability and jurisdiction
  • administrative enforcement
  • relation to state laws

Fair Credit Billing Act (15 U.S.C. § 1601-1666)
Its purpose is “to protect the consumer against inaccurate and unfair credit billing and credit card practices.”
This Act addresses the rights of consumers when anyone makes unauthorized charges (starting at $50) with their credit cards.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act“FDCPA” (15 U.S.C. §1692)
Generally prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or deceptive practices when collecting on overdue bills.
Prohibits debt collectors from collecting overdue bills from the identity theft victim on the unauthorized charges the identity thief had made.

For more information on the FDCPA, refer to the following sites:

The Truth in Lending Act (15 USC § § 1681a-1681v.)
Its purpose is “to require that consumer reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper utilization of such information in accordance with the requirements of this subchapter.”
The Act imposes civil liability for those who are in willful noncompliance or engage in negligent noncompliance.

  • For willful noncompliance, the violator is liable for
  • actual damages the consumer sustains because of the noncompliance, and
  • the cost of the action and reasonable attorney’s fees.
  • For negligent noncompliance, the violator is liable for
  • actual damages the consumer sustains because of the noncompliance,
  • punitive damages, and
  • cost of the action and reasonable attorney’s fees.

US Mail and Wire Fraud Statute (18 USC §§ 1343, 1345 (2001))

Addresses fraud by wire, radio, or television (18 U.S.C. 1343)

Injunctions Against Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§1345)

Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1693)
Establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of those involved in electronic fund transfer systems.

“‘[E]lectronic fund transfer” means any transfer of funds, other than a transaction originated by check, draft, or similar paper instrument, which is initiated through an electronic terminal, telephonic instrument, or computer or magnetic tape so as to order, instruct, or authorize a financial institution to debit or credit an account. Such term includes, but is not limited to, point-of-sale transfers, automated teller machine transactions, direct deposits or withdrawals of funds, and transfers initiated by telephone. ”