February 22, 2016

Yes, Financial Institutions Need your Physical Home Address. Blame the Good Ol' Patriot Act.

"Why is a credit card company demanding my physical home address?"  

I've been receiving calls and emails from clients regarding communication from credit card companies requesting a physical home address. The communication typically includes a stern warning similar to "provide a physical home address by XX-XX-XXXX or your card will be frozen."

Truth or scam?  Can credit card companies require this information?

Yes, they can.  Actually, they must.  Leave it to the

Good Ol' Patriot Act that we all admire and love.

The Feds want access to your physical home address.
And yes, you must provide it.

Although the Patriot Act was passed some 11 years ago in 2005, it's taken this long  for the law to be interpreted, followed by procedures put into place and implemented.  I know, nothing like speediness on the part of our Federal Government, right?

The Patriot Act requires that Financial Institutions (a broad category of companies including credit card companies) implement a Customer Identification Program ("CIP") which must include obtaining the physical home address of the customer. (Ostensibly so that Federal Investigators can more easily arrest you if you are suspected of money laundering.  No kidding.)

For privacy and security reasons, many of my clients (and also yours truly) have mail delivered to a private mailbox, post office box, or a business address.  If that description includes you, take a deep breath, because your current mailing address complies with CIP regulations as far as receiving correspondence from Financial Institutions.  However, you do need to provide your physical home address as an alternate address for the Financial Institution's records.

For information about my nationwide Consulting, Expert Witness, and Tax Services visit Fouts Financial Group.

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Thanks for sharing your comments here! Mary Rae Fouts