Friday, January 04, 2008

When Prevention Can Help

Citibank is using the rather blunt instrument of lowering some customers’ daily ATM cash withdrawal limits to fight a recent spate of cash machine fraud. The company said Thursday that the change impacts "a small population of customers" in New York City, but would not provide additional details.

It's not clear how much daily withdrawal limits were lowered, but the New York Daily News spoke with one consumer who said her limit had been cut in half.

"Though we can't provide details of ongoing security investigations, we are working closely with law enforcement on this matter," Citibank said in a statement to msnbc.com. "We continue to monitor our customer accounts for suspicious transactions and encourage customers who notice suspicious activity to call our customer service unit at the number on the back of their ATM cards."

Consumers who suffer fraud aren't liable for the losses, if they report the missing money in a timely fashion. Those who need extra cash can call Citibank and ask that their daily limits be raised.

But lower cash withdrawal limits may have a more serious impact in New York than elsewhere. Many New York City restaurants, for example, don't take credit cards, so customers often must scurry to ATMs in order to cover their bills.

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