Say that you are one of those fortunate people who manage to pay off most of their credit cards every month. Then imagine your surprise when one of your cards is cancelled for no apparent reason. That’s exactly what Farooq Firdous experienced. Last summer, Firdous, a Pakistani who got his green card in 1997 after 11 years of legal residence in the U.S., received a phone call from an American Express representative regarding a credit card he held. The rep requested that he send the company a mountain of paperwork: three years of tax returns, six months of bank statements and a job verification letter.
…Financial institutions work with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, part of the Department of Treasury. Companies and banks check names against the 80-page-long list of names maintained by OFAC, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. It includes approximately 5,000 “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” – people and organizations with whom Americans are not supposed to do business, including terrorists, narcotics traffickers and money-launderers. Banks have used this list for about a decade, but “September 11 served as a stark reminder to everyone involved that they should really be rigorous in looking at these names,” says OFAC spokesperson Tony Fratto.
Full article on Alternet