Financial Update (Fourth Quarter 2007)

Fed Board of Governors Provides Tips for Secure Checking Accounts

check and padlockConsumers can help safeguard their checking accounts by taking a few precautions, including regularly reviewing bank statements and not supplying account information carelessly. A new publication from the Federal Reserve Board includes these tips and more.

Five basic precautions accountholders can take
The publication contains five steps that can help protect checking accounts from unauthorized activity. The steps are:

  • Don't give account numbers or routing information to unknown individuals. Consumers should give this information only to companies they are familiar with and only if they have initiated the transaction.
  • Review monthly statements. Make sure that all the checks, debits, automatic payments, and other withdrawals are authorized.
  • Notify the bank about any problems as soon as possible. The sooner a bank is made aware of a problem, the sooner it can be resolved.
  • If the money is not in a checking account, don't spend it. The digital environment means that the time between writing a check and its deduction from a checking account has shrunk, sometimes dramatically.
  • Know the rights afforded by consumer protection laws. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act gives consumers certain rights, and awareness of these rights is important if there is a problem with electronic debits or electronic fund transfers.
    Press release off-site image
    Board's safety tips off-site image
    Consumer information about checks off-site image

Information available in printed form
A sheet summarizing the Board's safeguards and the reasons behind them is available online. Printed copies are also available from Publications Services, Mail Stop 127, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551.

October 31, 2007