Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Protecting Your Personal Information

Recent federal legislation has created new options for how consumers may handle their finances. Banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms may now provide services as one institution and share information rather than operating as separate entities. This may be convenient to consumers, but it may also pose privacy concerns.

In order to respect the privacy of consumers when dealing with financial institutions, Congress has adopted the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Here are some highlights:

  • Financial institutions must ensure the privacy of consumer information and protect against unauthorized access or use of those records.
  • Financial institutions must clearly state to consumers the policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of personal information.
  • Financial institutions must protect the privacy of customers' information from a non-affiliated third party.
  • Financial institutions may not disclose, other than to a consumer-reporting agency, any access information to a customer's account, for any type of transaction, to a non-affiliated third party for marketing use.

No matter how you decide to handle your finances, it's always wise to protect your personal information:

  • Don't give out personal information to anyone trying to sell you something unless you initiated contact or know with whom you are dealing.
  • Ask your financial institution for their policies about sharing your personal information.
  • Monitor your credit card statements, and report inaccuracies immediately.
  • Shred any documents containing personal information before throwing them away. This includes expired credit cards and credit offers received in the mail.
  • Consider if you want your financial institution to share your personal information with a third party. If not, take advantage of your right to opt out by contacting your financial institution.

If you have any questions, contact the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555. Also see our brochure, Protecting Your Personal Information.