E*Trade to Cover Fraud Victims

E*Trade Financial Corp. is reaching out to customers who may be leery
of online banking and investing, promising them full coverage in the event
their personal information is used for fraud.

Online scammers rob Americans millions each year, according to
information corralled by the Federal Trade Commission and security-oriented groups. Moreover, the recent rash of
lost data cartridges containing personal information has customers

E*Trade is looking to alleviate some of those concerns, unveiling its
Complete Protection Guarantee.

The coverage plan provides customers complete fraud coverage, bill payment
protection and privacy protection in the event of online theft committed via
unauthorized access to investing, cash management or lending accounts.

E*Trade’s trading software features several layers of security, including
Digital Security ID (two-factor authentication), real-time account
validation, anti-fraud/theft monitoring and unique confirmation numbers for
all wire transfers.

But, E*Trade pointed out, consumers leave themselves open to online attacks
because they don’t safeguard their computers with anti-virus software,
firewalls and anti-spyware.

Despite this, consumers believe banks are responsible for protecting them
from online fraud, the online trader said in a statement announcing the new
coverage plan.

Citing an Insight Express it commissioned, E*Trade said 77 percent of
Americans believe their financial institution holds primary responsibility,
or responsibility equal to the customer, for protecting a customer’s assets.

“E*Trade Financial’s systems are secure, safe and reliable,” said R. Jarrett
Lilien, President and COO, E*Trade Financial. But the reality is that
today’s consumers do not always take the necessary measures to ensure their
home PCs are adequately protected.”

However, many consumers do not recognize that they may be responsible for
losses incurred when thieves strike, E*Trade said. The company cited a
Gartner report that noted that, unlike banks, brokerage accounts aren’t
protected by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Regulation E rules,
which ensure that consumers get their money back.

“Consumers must be confident that their funds are secure online — in all
circumstances,” Lilien said. “The E*Trade Complete Protection Guarantee is
E*Trade Financial’s commitment to stand by any customer who is victimized by
criminal activity.”

The coverage plan calls for E*Trade to match any losses arising from fraud
in an E*Trade account that results from the unauthorized use of its
investing, banking or lending services.

If a customer’s brokerage, banking or loan payment is not sent as
instructed, the customer will be reimbursed of any related fees, penalties
or finance charges.

E*Trade also said it will not sell a customer’s personal information to
third-party marketers for any purpose.

Customers may view more details about the new protection plan here.

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