Ally is threatening to close my CD

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lynneny
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Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by lynneny » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:46 am

Have I done something wrong? I just got a letter from Ally Bank, where I'm halfway through several 5-year CDs, saying that my account "has had no activity" and so will be reclassified as "presumptively abandoned and your funds will be excheated to the state of New York."

They offer me the option of returning a form to them saying "This account is not abandoned, please reactivate my account." I'm supposed to sign and date the letter and add the last 4 digits of my Social Security number. The return address on the self-addressed envelope just says "Mail Management" with a P.O. Box address. The letter has no signature or phone number or other contact details for Ally beyond the P.O. box address and a fax number.

Is this some weird scam? Or is it really from Ally? But what "activity" did they expect on 5-year CDs that mature a couple years from now? It's not like a mutual fund I can buy or sell, or a checking account with deposits and withdrawals. I get quarterly statements from Ally Bank in the mail, most recently on Aug. 20, 2015, recording the latest interest payments on the CDs.

Should I fill out the form and mail it back? Has this happened to anyone else? Thank you!

Goal33
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Goal33 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:48 am

I'd give them a call and ask what's up...
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timboktoo
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by timboktoo » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:48 am

Contact Ally Bank

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:49 am

Maybe you should call Ally right away?

I had a checking account at USAA that they closed. When I discovered it, they claimed they notified me and then claimed the money was escheated to the state and they were just following the law. Funny thing, the account had balance of $0.00, so no money was involved. USAA is now trying to get me to open a new checking account by paying me a few hundred dollars to do so.

Check with Ally.
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paddleon
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by paddleon » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:52 am

I'm new to the board etc. and this is my first post but do not send the info requested without first contacting Ally Bank. I see a number of red flags on this.
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by guapomole » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:53 am

Most states exempt CDs from presumption of abandonment during the first term, regardless of the length of the term. Have these CDs been auto-renewing? it's always a good idea to call in at least once a year to check the balance of your accounts and remind the customer service rep to update the date of last contact on all of your accounts to prevent them from ever being considered dormant/escheatable.

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dm200
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:32 pm

Are these CDs ones that have been automatically renewed at the end of a previous term? I suspect that is probably the case.

The details of "escheatment" for "inactivity" vary by state, but in general states (and the state and federal regulators) have become much more aggressive in enforcing the "letter" of the law on inactivity. In general, posting of interest/dividends on bank CDs and credit union certificates does not "count" as activity. I am in this business and I can assure you that such letters and notices are very common - and do not indicate any kind of scam.

I would just fill out the form, sign it and send it in.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:33 pm

I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.

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dm200
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:40 pm

letsgobobby wrote:I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.
While I do not know the details of the OP letter from Ally - I would make absolutely NO such presumption or conclusion. I am in this business and such letters are very common - primarily due to aggressive enforcement of the laws/regulations of the various states by financial regulators and the states that want to pursue this money.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by theunknowntech » Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:47 pm

dm200 wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.
While I do not know the details of the OP letter from Ally - I would make absolutely NO such presumption or conclusion. I am in this business and such letters are very common - primarily due to aggressive enforcement of the laws/regulations of the various states by financial regulators and the states that want to pursue this money.
This is exactly what I would expect from Ally. They are the self-thought-of Big Machine. It reminds me of the famous cartoon about Wells Fargo, where two 100-foot-tall bankers are striding down the street, with the "little people" running screaming down the street away from them, and one banker says to the other, "Be careful, you don't want to get any on your shoes."

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:21 pm

This doesn't sound at all legit. I agree that the safest way to proceed is to call Ally (and don't use any phone number that might appear on the letter; go to their official website to determine the phone number). Legally any kind of contact (including a phone call from you) is evidence for their records that you are still an active accountholder.

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lynneny
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by lynneny » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:25 pm

OP here. Thanks for your responses. I'll call the Ally number on my quarterly statements, and plan on mailing back the form after I verify/complain a bit on the phone. I think one of the CDs is a renewal of one that matured, so maybe that triggered this.

I did call earlier but got tired of being on hold (there's no phone tree option specifically for "Don't escheat my account"; at least I learned a new word). This time I'll peruse Boglehead forum while on hold, and the time will be well spent :).

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greg24
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by greg24 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:34 pm

Is it possible that you have an empty savings or checking account that was opened when the CDs were opened?

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:44 pm

dm200 wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.
While I do not know the details of the OP letter from Ally - I would make absolutely NO such presumption or conclusion. I am in this business and such letters are very common - primarily due to aggressive enforcement of the laws/regulations of the various states by financial regulators and the states that want to pursue this money.
Yes, but those letters usually sound like this: "Your accounts have been closed." There is no recourse, and no one will answer your questions.

This letter was different: "If you want your account to remain open, do this." Suspicious packaging. Requesting social security digits.

We'll see what Ally says.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Kevin M » Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:30 pm

I would call or online chat with Ally Bank to verify the situation, and facilitate resolving it.

I have CDs at a credit union at which they lock my online access unless there is some account activity within one year. I only notice when I go to logon occasionally to download my latest statement. The first time this happened, I called, and the rep just unlocked my account. She recommended periodically doing a small transfer between accounts to avoid this, but I only have the one required savings account there in addition to the CDs, and have been too lazy to set up a linked account to do the required transfer, so will probably just call again when it happens again.

I also had some accounts "disappear" from my online access at Wells Fargo for the same reason (I believe they may have had small if not zero balances), was also able to resolve this with a phone call, and was told the same thing about doing small transfers at least once per year to keep this from happening.

I have accounts at other banks and credit unions at which I don't do any transfers for more than a year, and there are no problems like this.
lynneny wrote: I did call earlier but got tired of being on hold (there's no phone tree option specifically for "Don't escheat my account"; at least I learned a new word). This time I'll peruse Boglehead forum while on hold, and the time will be well spent :).
Online chat sometimes is quicker than phone at Ally Bank. Usually I get through immediately or within a minute or two using one or the other. Their site tells you the wait times for phone and I think also for online chat.

I currently see a phone wait time of one minute. I just started a chat to test it, was told I was number 1 in the queue, and a rep came online immediately.

Regarding phone trees, I just either choose a dummy option, or just keep saying "representative" until I get through to a person.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:39 pm

Online chat is a great idea--and you can even save a transcript of your confirmation for your records.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Tanelorn » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:11 pm

lynneny wrote:Is this some weird scam?
The weird scam whereby the state of NY steals ("escheats") your assets usually takes 5 years for bank accounts, although it may be lower in some cases:

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/ABP/3/300

The states in general of gotten increasingly greedy at this sort of theft, often dropping the time frame as low as 3 years, disallowing various sorts of normal activity as "counting" to reset the escheat clock, and strongly disincentivizing the bureaucrats in charge from making it easy to figure out what is going on, how to stop it, or how to reclaim you stolen assets. Be careful.

Delaware alone took over half a billion dollars of people's property without their permission in a single year.

http://delaware.newszap.com/centraldela ... d-property
Last edited by Tanelorn on Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Busting Myths » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:12 pm

lynneny wrote:Have I done something wrong? I just got a letter from Ally Bank, where I'm halfway through several 5-year CDs, saying that my account "has had no activity" and so will be reclassified as "presumptively abandoned and your funds will be excheated to the state of New York."

They offer me the option of returning a form to them saying "This account is not abandoned, please reactivate my account." I'm supposed to sign and date the letter and add the last 4 digits of my Social Security number. The return address on the self-addressed envelope just says "Mail Management" with a P.O. Box address. The letter has no signature or phone number or other contact details for Ally beyond the P.O. box address and a fax number.

Is this some weird scam? Or is it really from Ally? But what "activity" did they expect on 5-year CDs that mature a couple years from now? It's not like a mutual fund I can buy or sell, or a checking account with deposits and withdrawals. I get quarterly statements from Ally Bank in the mail, most recently on Aug. 20, 2015, recording the latest interest payments on the CDs.

Should I fill out the form and mail it back? Has this happened to anyone else? Thank you!
My father received the same letter from Ally Bank in the mail last week. I setup an online savings account for him but he rarely access it online as he still get paper statements. I filled out the paperwork and thought nothing of it. Ally has reached out in the past with a similar letter stating that they would block online access until they heard from him.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dad2000 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:36 pm

It wasn't with Ally, but I had $200K in CDs with a local bank, and they informed me they were going to charge me $10/month due to inactivity. The manager refused to make any accommodations. I went to the counter and withdrew some small amount from savings like $1 to avoid the charge. Fortunately, the CDs were expiring within a few weeks so I cancelled the autorenew and moved the money to another bank.

I seem to recall a credit card wanting to charge me some sort of inactivity fee at some point as well because I wasn't carrying a balance.

I think these companies just want to purge accounts that don't present fee making opportunities. Many Bogleheads probably fall into this category.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by john94549 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:52 pm

OP, sounds very fishy (or "phishy") to me. The last four digits of your SSN are often used by financial institutions as identifiers. Do not give them out. Perhaps someone has stolen one of your statements and all the scammer needs is the last four digits of your SSN to try to drain your account.

In any event, if you have been receiving your statements, you hardly sound like a candidate for escheat. Generally speaking, after a period of years after which statements have been returned as "undeliverable" (i.e., account holder deceased) and there has been no further contact by anyone claiming the account, escheat will occur. Again, you would not seem to fit in such a category.

Ironically enough, even if assets have been escheated, they do not go "poof". Folks who feel they have a claim on the assets can file a claim (usually with the State Treasurer).

If you can't get through to Ally via phone or chat, just pop a copy of the recent letter, and your most recent statement, to a trusted address for Ally. Note on the letter: "I think this is a scam. Do not close my account(s)." That should do the trick.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by nisiprius » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:28 pm

It sounds like it is probably straight enough to me. I would definitely touch base with Ally on this. Regrettably, the crazy business of getting IMHO fishy-looking mail because your institution in state A has outsourced something to some random contractor in state B is pretty common, though, so it's probably OK.

We once got a notice like this from our local, small bank (which I like quite well), with regard to a grandchild's UGMA account, which was a CD ladder, always rolled over. They said we had to come in and do something to prevent the account from going inactive. Whatever it was wasn't a big deal, they gave reasonable notice, and as I understood it there was no imminent danger of actually losing the money--if the account had gone inactive there would have been some longish period of time before the state actually took it.
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Toons » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:36 pm

Call :happy
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:06 pm

nisiprius wrote:It sounds like it is probably straight enough to me. I would definitely touch base with Ally on this. Regrettably, the crazy business of getting IMHO fishy-looking mail because your institution in state A has outsourced something to some random contractor in state B is pretty common, though, so it's probably OK.

We once got a notice like this from our local, small bank (which I like quite well), with regard to a grandchild's UGMA account, which was a CD ladder, always rolled over. They said we had to come in and do something to prevent the account from going inactive. Whatever it was wasn't a big deal, they gave reasonable notice, and as I understood it there was no imminent danger of actually losing the money--if the account had gone inactive there would have been some longish period of time before the state actually took it.
And even after it has escheated to the state you haven't really lost the money. The state holds the funds on behalf of the owner (or his heirs) and all you need to do after an escheat process is to authenticate your identity and they will send you the funds. This is not a big deal if the owner of record is still living at the address of record associated with the account. You fill out an online form and they send you a check, quite promptly in my experience (with the state of NY.)

I am sure it takes longer if the owner has moved or, worse, died. I know that there is an unclaimed funds account in escheat for a long dead relative (over a decade ago and the estate executor is now also dead.) It is something like a utility deposit (probably something like $75) so not worth the trouble of reopening the estate and getting a new executor named.

http://www.sec.gov/answers/escheat.htm

Of course it is better to do whatever minimal thing you to do avoid the account being considered "dormant" because once it goes into escheat you stop earning any kind of return. (The state gets the float as its compensation for running the system to reunite unclaimed funds with their rightful owners.)

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dm200 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:12 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
dm200 wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.
While I do not know the details of the OP letter from Ally - I would make absolutely NO such presumption or conclusion. I am in this business and such letters are very common - primarily due to aggressive enforcement of the laws/regulations of the various states by financial regulators and the states that want to pursue this money.
Yes, but those letters usually sound like this: "Your accounts have been closed." There is no recourse, and no one will answer your questions.
This letter was different: "If you want your account to remain open, do this." Suspicious packaging. Requesting social security digits.
We'll see what Ally says.
Baloney!!
As I stated, I am in this very business and letter(s) or notices are often sent just like this. In fact, in this state (Virginia) a notice/letter much like this is REQUIRED to be sent before being required to be escheated to the state. It is, in my opinion, both irresponsible and probably improper to just close an account for inactivity to comply with state abandoned property/escheatment laws and regulations. I base MY statements on my direct knowledge of such laws and regulations and direct experience. On what do you base your statement??

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:17 pm

Agree with dm200 that the financial institution has an obligation to diligently search out the owner before turning over the funds to the state. I have gotten letters in the past giving me a phone number to call (which I could tell was a legit phone number because it matched the one on my account statements) and I would just call and say, Yes, I got the letter and authenticate my identity to their satisfaction on their recorded line and that would be it. They had "evidence" of having made contact with a iive account owner that they could show to the state and that was fine. In some cases just making a phone inquiry to request the balance would do it.

Interesting fact sheet on NYS Escheats. Most amounts are small, under $100 (unclaimed security deposits from utilities, uncashed checks for jury duty pay, that sort of thing) but some are in the millions of dollars. State is currently holding $14 billion in unclaimed funds. Last year it took in $800M and paid out $400M.

http://www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/ouf_factsheet.pdf

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:26 pm

Another important thing to keep in mind: if a private party contacts you and offers to help you file a claim for unclaimed funds in your name in exchange for a finder's fee, do NOT bite! You are better off filing directly with the state authorities and get 100% of your money back, not 85% after deducting the finder's fee.

Here is a central government operated webpage where you can search for any state that may be holding your money. Once you find it, file on-line (or on paper if you prefer or if you need to attach supplementary documentation like estate paperwork of some sort)

https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by ThisTimeItsDifferent » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:48 pm

dodecahedron wrote: And even after it has escheated to the state you haven't really lost the money. The state holds the funds on behalf of the owner (or his heirs) and all you need to do after an escheat process is to authenticate your identity and they will send you the funds. ...

Of course it is better to do whatever minimal thing you to do avoid the account being considered "dormant" because once it goes into escheat you stop earning any kind of return. (The state gets the float as its compensation for running the system to reunite unclaimed funds with their rightful owners.)
Not only do you stop earning any return but the state may sell the securities and return to you only the original dollar amount.
When they sell the securities, they may put the proceeds in their general revenue fund. They hire contingency agencies to administer the escheatments, who get paid by what the states keep, not by what they return to the rightful owners. How hard do you think they try to find the rightful owner?

Just because you work for a company does not mean that they will not turn over accounts with that company for escheatment because the group/company that administers the investments may not perform any due diligence, not even checking employee rolls.

Delaware claims escheatments based on the state of incorporation, rather than the apparent last known address of the owner and publishes a list or statement only in a Delaware paper. Some states don't even do that. Delaware has also been trying to escheat IRAs and 401ks.

Automatic investments or transfers may not reset the clock either, which may be as short as three years.

So you have to be diligent about knowing all your accounts and performing some qualifying activity, and even then....

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:18 pm

ThisTimeItsDifferent wrote:
dodecahedron wrote: And even after it has escheated to the state you haven't really lost the money. The state holds the funds on behalf of the owner (or his heirs) and all you need to do after an escheat process is to authenticate your identity and they will send you the funds. ...

Of course it is better to do whatever minimal thing you to do avoid the account being considered "dormant" because once it goes into escheat you stop earning any kind of return. (The state gets the float as its compensation for running the system to reunite unclaimed funds with their rightful owners.)
Not only do you stop earning any return but the state may sell the securities and return to you only the original dollar amount.
Agreed. As I said above, you don't get any additional income after the funds have escheated to the state.
They hire contingency agencies to administer the escheatments, who get paid by what the states keep, not by what they return to the rightful owners. How hard do you think they try to find the rightful owner?
The Secretary of State (who is in charge of the escheat process in my state--even if the state contracts out the operation--I don't know whether that's the case, but it wouldn't surprise me at all) loves to advertise the existence of these escheat accounts and how to research them and file a claim very painlessly online. (He's an elected official and happy people reunited with funds they didn't know they had is good for his popularity with the voters.) The newspapers around here love to run stories telling people how to check whether they have funds due them. Third party companies are allowed to charge finders fees (and some people are foolish enough to pay them) but that is yet another (personalized) source of information to an owner whose funds are escheated.

In fact, the way I learned I had funds in escheat (an unclaimed refund of a deposit I didn't realize I had coming back to me and something else I can't remember) is that I saw an article in the paper about where to look, checked, filed, and had my cash in less than 10 days.
Just because you work for a company does not mean that they will not turn over accounts with that company for escheatment because the group/company that administers the investments may not perform any due diligence, not even checking employee rolls.
I actually know someone disorganized enough not to cash one of his paychecks (and also couldn't be bothered with direct deposit of course!) and eventually his check showed up in unclaimed funds at the state (even though he was still working for the same employer). I don't blame HR for not contacting him and asking if he wanted them to replace the uncashed check.

As far as 401k type funds, my experiences there have been very good. My husband and I had a lot of these with a number of different former employers and some were in assets we were happy with for the long term and didn't require tinkering so we didn't do anything active.

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lynneny
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by lynneny » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:14 pm

OP again. Just spoke to Ally. The plot thickens.

The very nice customer service rep checked and said my CD is in good standing, and confirmed that Ally didn't send me any letter saying that due to lack of activity the account would be considered abandoned and the funds excheated to the state of NY unless I returned their form asking that my account be reactivated.

I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD. I asked to speak to Ally's fraud department. She said she'll report it, and I should get a call from their loss prevention department in 3 to 5 business days.

The apparently fraudulent letter asked for the last four digits of my social security number; if they had gotten that information from me, I wonder if they would have tried to use it to get my CD closed and the funds sent to them. I can't figure out how they got so much information about my account; I never signed up for online access, and the mailed quarterly statements are delivered by the post office to my locked mail box in a secure mailroom in our apartment building, then filed and eventually shredded by me. Maybe I'll learn more after talking to Ally's loss prevention person.

Tks again for all your comments. If I hadn't stopped to post my question, and read your answers, I might have just responded to the letter without really thinking about it.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:27 pm

Thanks for the update--I am glad that my "Something's fishy here" instincts proved right in this case and even more glad that you took action to avoid any exposure of secure data. Good cautionary note for all of us to bear in mind!

The circumstances you describe are certainly concerning! Possibilities that occur to me would be Ally data breach or maybe someone inside the PO intercepting Ally statements, opening them, and then resealing them into counterfeit official looking Ally envelopes that would arrive apparently unopened. (Their stationery is not exactly counterfeit proof the way that currency is. Or maybe they stole some stationery from Ally.) To save the cost of applying fresh postage to the new envelope, they could counterfeit the postage meter stuff and (because they are inside the PO) deposit it back into the system downstream of whatever device checks for valid postage.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Carl53 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:11 am

lynneny wrote:OP again. Just spoke to Ally. The plot thickens.

The very nice customer service rep checked and said my CD is in good standing, and confirmed that Ally didn't send me any letter saying that due to lack of activity the account would be considered abandoned and the funds excheated to the state of NY unless I returned their form asking that my account be reactivated.

I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD. I asked to speak to Ally's fraud department. She said she'll report it, and I should get a call from their loss prevention department in 3 to 5 business days.

The apparently fraudulent letter asked for the last four digits of my social security number; if they had gotten that information from me, I wonder if they would have tried to use it to get my CD closed and the funds sent to them. I can't figure out how they got so much information about my account; I never signed up for online access, and the mailed quarterly statements are delivered by the post office to my locked mail box in a secure mailroom in our apartment building, then filed and eventually shredded by me. Maybe I'll learn more after talking to Ally's loss prevention person.

Tks again for all your comments. If I hadn't stopped to post my question, and read your answers, I might have just responded to the letter without really thinking about it.
Now this is pretty scary. At least one other poster in this thread did respond to an identical letter. I can imagine numerous Ally customers getting sucked in.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by tbradnc » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:07 am

I'm surprised that interest credited monthly wouldn't count as "activity".

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:15 am

tbradnc wrote:I'm surprised that interest credited monthly wouldn't count as "activity".
"Activity" has an operational definition in this context: the activity has to provide some evidence that the owner has not "abandoned" (i.e., forgotten about) the account. Interest crediting is an automatic accounting mechanism which provides no evidence that the owner is still aware the account exists because it was not initiated by the owner. Activity could be as simple as contacting the bank to file a change of address but automatic interest crediting doesn't suffice.

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goingup
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by goingup » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:27 am

lynneny wrote:I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD.
Did you attempt to verify whether the PO Box return address on your letter was a real Ally address? How about the fax number?

I'd be pretty surprised if this was a phishing scam. The level of information in your letter would make me think it's an Ally screw up.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Dude2 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:43 am

goingup wrote:
lynneny wrote:I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD.
Did you attempt to verify whether the PO Box return address on your letter was a real Ally address? How about the fax number?

I'd be pretty surprised if this was a phishing scam. The level of information in your letter would make me think it's an Ally screw up.
Exactly. One hand doesn't know what the other is doing -- just tell the customer what makes them happy to hear and pass the buck to another dept.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:38 am

Dude2 wrote:
goingup wrote:
lynneny wrote:I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD.
Did you attempt to verify whether the PO Box return address on your letter was a real Ally address? How about the fax number?

I'd be pretty surprised if this was a phishing scam. The level of information in your letter would make me think it's an Ally screw up.
Exactly. One hand doesn't know what the other is doing -- just tell the customer what makes them happy to hear and pass the buck to another dept.
I agree this is a possibility. It's even possible they may have outsourced the "escheat management" paperwork to a (presumably reputable) outside contractor and there might be a breakdown in communication somewhere.

There are businesses that specialize in escheat management paperwork handling. (e.g, https://www.keaneunclaimedproperty.com/ ... -reporting) Staying in compliance with all the different state laws is a burdensome administrative task for financial institutions and I can see why they'd want to outsource. States are hungry for revenue anywhere they can find it (literally digging under the sofa cushions!) and the fees they can collect from financial institutions that do not turn over escheated assets according to their deadlines are high (10% per year charge on overdue escheated assets in NY). Not only are there 50+ applicable laws in the US states and territories, there have been many changes, so I can see why banks would want to outsource to a service that stays on top of all these changes.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:14 am

letsgobobby wrote:I would presume this is a snail mail phishing expedition. Call Ally.
dm200 wrote:Baloney!!
As I stated, I am in this very business and letter(s) or notices are often sent just like this. In fact, in this state (Virginia) a notice/letter much like this is REQUIRED to be sent before being required to be escheated to the state. It is, in my opinion, both irresponsible and probably improper to just close an account for inactivity to comply with state abandoned property/escheatment laws and regulations. I base MY statements on my direct knowledge of such laws and regulations and direct experience. On what do you base your statement??
lynneny wrote:OP again. Just spoke to Ally. The plot thickens.

The very nice customer service rep checked and said my CD is in good standing, and confirmed that Ally didn't send me any letter saying that due to lack of activity the account would be considered abandoned and the funds excheated to the state of NY unless I returned their form asking that my account be reactivated.

I told her I'm concerned that I got a letter, which Ally says isn't from them, that includes both my account number and exact amount of the CD. I asked to speak to Ally's fraud department. She said she'll report it, and I should get a call from their loss prevention department in 3 to 5 business days.

The apparently fraudulent letter asked for the last four digits of my social security number; if they had gotten that information from me, I wonder if they would have tried to use it to get my CD closed and the funds sent to them. I can't figure out how they got so much information about my account; I never signed up for online access, and the mailed quarterly statements are delivered by the post office to my locked mail box in a secure mailroom in our apartment building, then filed and eventually shredded by me. Maybe I'll learn more after talking to Ally's loss prevention person.

Tks again for all your comments. If I hadn't stopped to post my question, and read your answers, I might have just responded to the letter without really thinking about it.
Case closed.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:00 pm

Letsgobobby, I don't think the case is entirely closed, though I definitely agree that the OP was right to follow our advice to contact Ally directly and I am very glad their security department will be investigating.

As pointed out by another poster, it could be a case of Ally "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing," especially if Ally outsourced escheat management paperwork services to an outside contractor.

But in any case, it is always good to respond to both email and paper requests of this kind with extreme care, contacting the financial institution directly through a phone number listed on their official website.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Kevin M » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:06 pm

lynneny wrote:I can't figure out how they got so much information about my account; I never signed up for online access, and the mailed quarterly statements are delivered by the post office to my locked mail box in a secure mailroom in our apartment building, then filed and eventually shredded by me.
Maybe online access is safer. I do everything online, and don't receive any paper statements from any account unless it's unavoidable (Ally Bank insists on mailing me paper statements for two trust accounts I have there).

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by letsgobobby » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:27 pm

dodecahedron wrote:Letsgobobby, I don't think the case is entirely closed, though I definitely agree that the OP was right to follow our advice to contact Ally directly and I am very glad their security department will be investigating.

As pointed out by another poster, it could be a case of Ally "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing," especially if Ally outsourced escheat management paperwork services to an outside contractor.

But in any case, it is always good to respond to both email and paper requests of this kind with extreme care, contacting the financial institution directly through a phone number listed on their official website.
could be. Call me cynical, but in 2015, if I get any request for any information, from anyone, at any time, in any format, unsolicited, then it's fraud in my book until proven otherwise.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dhodson » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:46 pm

I won't be calling you cynical for that....

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by dodecahedron » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:48 pm

letsgobobby wrote: could be. Call me cynical, but in 2015, if I get any request for any information, from anyone, at any time, in any format, unsolicited, then it's fraud in my book until proven otherwise.
I wouldn't call you cynical at all--I'd call you prudent!

Totally agree that it is always wisest to act as if it's fraud until proven otherwise. Contacting the institution directly is the most prudent course of action.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:00 pm

My Mom got a phone call from the local Wells Fargo one day saying her account might be closed for lack of activity -- defined as her not using the regular branch for a while (she had switched bill paying to a credit union). We visited the bank together and talked in person to the young man who had made the call.

She had an inactive checking account, an active savings account that was receiving regular interest on T-bills, and some CDs. WF still wanted her to use the branch or risk losing everything.

We closed what we could that day and deposited everything in the CU. We took a little hit on the CDs (3 months interest penalty for early closing). But it was worth it when a bank really tells you, we don't value your business.

Banks in general are weird, and Wells Fargo in particular. There need not be fraud in the OP case, it might be, but any lack of activity notice on any bank account should not be assumed to be fraud and ignored.
Last edited by Christine_NM on Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by guapomole » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:01 pm

dodecahedron wrote:Letsgobobby, I don't think the case is entirely closed, though I definitely agree that the OP was right to follow our advice to contact Ally directly and I am very glad their security department will be investigating.

As pointed out by another poster, it could be a case of Ally "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing," especially if Ally outsourced escheat management paperwork services to an outside contractor.

But in any case, it is always good to respond to both email and paper requests of this kind with extreme care, contacting the financial institution directly through a phone number listed on their official website.
Absolutely agree with all your points. One of the things regulators always check is to see who has access to the dormant account information. That type of information is normally held very closely and shared only with a very small group that works specifically with dormant/escheatable accounts. The main reason being that a large pool of "inactive" accounts can be very tempting when it comes to malfeasance by employees. A call center employee that may have access to performing debits and credits to accounts while also being a very low level employee would absolutely be in the pool of people to not know which accounts are dormant, though they should generally be trained in the importance of recording the date of contact with all clients that they speak with.

Far too often when sending out a dormant/escheat notice the response is to call in and berate a call center employee, not comply with their standard identification verification process, which then results in the account not being updated since the identity of the individual calling could not be confirmed. Then when the funds are sent to the state of residence of the account holder they call back to yell some more, only now its too late to do anything but direct them to the state agency that handles returning escheated funds to the proper owner.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by guapomole » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:02 pm

Christine_NM wrote:My Mom got a phone call from the local Wells Fargo one day saying her account might be closed for lack of activity -- defined as her not using the regular branch for a while (she had switched bill paying to a credit union). We visited the bank together and talked in person to the young man who had made the call.

She had an inactive checking account, an active savings account that was received regular interest on T-bills, and some CDs. WF still wanted her to use the branch or risk losing everything.

We closed what we could that day and deposited everything in the CU. We took a little hit on the CDs (3 months interest penalty for early closing). But it was worth it when a bank really tells you, we don't value your business.

Banks in general are weird, and Wells Fargo in particular. There need not be fraud in the OP case, it might be, but any lack of activity notice on any bank account should not be assumed to be fraud and ignored.
Interest posting to the account does not count as "activity" to the state regulators that enforce escheat laws. If you found a credit union that happily ignores escheat laws then enjoy it while they still exist.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:10 pm

guapomole wrote: Interest posting to the account does not count as "activity" to the state regulators that enforce escheat laws. If you found a credit union that happily ignores escheat laws then enjoy it while they still exist.
Interest on T-bills comes in as a direct deposit, not as an interest payment on the account. :oops:
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by guapomole » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:15 pm

Christine_NM wrote:
guapomole wrote: Interest posting to the account does not count as "activity" to the state regulators that enforce escheat laws. If you found a credit union that happily ignores escheat laws then enjoy it while they still exist.
Interest on T-bills comes in as a direct deposit, not as an interest payment on the account. :oops:
That still wouldn't count as activity, nor would any other regularly occurring direct deposit or debit, under any state's escheat laws.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by Christine_NM » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:23 pm

guapomole wrote:
Christine_NM wrote:
guapomole wrote: Interest posting to the account does not count as "activity" to the state regulators that enforce escheat laws. If you found a credit union that happily ignores escheat laws then enjoy it while they still exist.
Interest on T-bills comes in as a direct deposit, not as an interest payment on the account. :oops:
That still wouldn't count as activity, nor would any other regularly occurring direct deposit or debit, under any state's escheat laws.
Would you mind identifying your sources or your professional interest in this subject? You are making a lot of legal claims. In any case, when the account holder shows up in person 5 minutes after the first phone call and is still discouraged from doing business with the bank except in a particular method that is no longer convenient for her -- well, obviously we take our money elsewhere.
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lynneny
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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by lynneny » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:33 pm

OP again. Good points that Ally customer service reps could simply be unaware that elsewhere in the bank another group is outsourcing follow up on possibly abandoned accounts to some cut-rate** subcontractor in another state. (The rep didn't recognize the out-of-state Atlanta, Georgia P.O. Box address on letter I got and even said any communication on behalf of Ally would be from a Pennsylvania address). And that none of this activity is noted on customer records, either through disorganization or as a security measure.

So I'm looking forward to their loss prevention department getting back to me, and hope I'll find out if this is just internal lack of communication at Ally, or possibly a bigger deal. And I want to at least be sure we all agree my account has been verified as active and not escheatable (if that's a word).

**I say cut-rate because, unlike my Ally statements, the letter was on cheap, flimsy paper, and the purple Ally logo was in black as if it had been photocopied from the real thing. Scammer or penny-pinching subcontractor.

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Re: Ally is threatening to close my CD

Post by PVW » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:45 pm

This is sounding like a scam to me - the letter doesn't look official and the Ally customer service rep doesn't think you should have received the letter. This is very scary as it would indicate that somebody has gotten your private account information and are using a clever and costly (compared to email phishing) method to try to extract more information.

What will you do if you determine this is a scam? I don't have any advice and I'm not sure what I would do. I would probably freeze my credit agency accounts and then start to look into the security of my financial accounts.

Another thought might be to return the letter with false information and see if anyone uses it to access your accounts. If it is legitimate, Ally will know you sent wrong information and might try to contact you again.

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