February 23, 2024 — Testimony

Payment fraud impacts all Americans across many communities, but the impacts of fraud are most keenly felt by certain vulnerable populations such as older Americans, low-income consumers, and communities of color. Additionally, Maryland ranks fifth in the nation for 2023 fraud reports per capita. One of the primary ways used by criminals to steal tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars from people is through bank-to-bank wire transfer systems. Yet the consumer protection laws that govern bank wire transfers are woefully inadequate. We are pleased to support HB 1156/SB 930 because it would close two critical gaps in consumer protection laws. First, the bill would require a bank to follow the same rules under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act that apply to other forms of electronic payments when a consumer disputes an unauthorized wire transfer taken out of their account. Second, the bill would protect consumers who are defrauded by a criminal into sending money through wire transfers.