Banks tighten privacy policies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Banks tighten privacy policies

April 6, 2006

Albany - People in more than three million U.S. households reported identity theft last year. Banks and other financial institutions are making government mandated changes to crack down on the skyrocketing crime.

The Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act of 1999 requires banks to tighten privacy restrictions. Banks must send customers their privacy policies regarding the sharing of private information. And it allows customers to opt-out of sharing this information in some cases.

Many banks, including Flint Community bank in Albany, are also using upgraded computer protection programs to stop hackers from stealing personnel information.

"I get a report daily. If there is any attempt at intrusion, if there's any activity from within the computer system we have here or if there is any suspicious activity, we have a company that monitors that for us moment by moment," said Frank Griffin with Flint Community Bank.

Internet banking scams are also on the rise. Many of the emails appear to be from your bank, and they ask you to verify information your bank account and social security number. The scammer then uses the information to steal your identity. Every bank we talked to say they would never do this over the internet, so don't fall prey.

Georgia Watch and the Dougherty County District Attorney's office is offering an identity theft workshop Thursday night at Albany State. The free workshop is in the ACAD Auditorium at 7:00PM.

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