Monday marked the start of National Consumer Protection Week. For the past fifteen years, this week has symbolized the concerted efforts of close to 65 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits. The goal is to bring awareness to the important work of consumer protection. With a growing number of identity theft, fraud and scam cases, it’s never been more important for consumers to educate themselves.
This week will highlight the many information outlets, programs and reporting opportunities for consumers to better identify and report frauds and scams. But it does more than that. This annual week long event also puts the many resources front and center for consumers looking for ways to better manage their credit and debt as well as opportunities to learn more about the different technological advances for the collective financial sector. It’s all about taking control of one’s financial footprint so that they can stay financially safe.
All Inclusive Website
The website, NCPW.gov, is an all inclusive site designed to bring the latest news and advances in security, credit and banking. From tips on recognizing fraud to new programs designed to help struggling consumers in a tough economy, this information is both timely and easy to access. There are blogs, videos, audio tips and other resources as well as a link to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in which Americans can file complaints on everything from credit card collection abuse to student loans to predator lending.
Every Age Every Stage
This year, the Department of Consumer Protection launched its “Every Age, Every Stage” Campaign. This outreach program is also geared to empowering consumers who have been victims in the past or who are concerned they could fall victim to these criminals whose only purpose is to separate you from your credit rating and cash.
Many states are kick starting their own efforts, including Connecticut. Governor Dannel P. Malloy explains his state has always been a leader in protecting consumers from unfair business practices and goods and services that don’t deliver on promises. He explained in a presser,
We’re taking this opportunity to remind Connecticut residents about the many consumer protections our state offers.
Other states have their own programs and residents can check their state’s website for more information on which programs are available.
At every age and every stage of life, an informed and aware consumer is more likely to avoid scams, and get a fair deal in the marketplace,
Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said today.
The Department’s new, user-focused website makes helpful information easier to find and more accessible for consumers of all ages.
The site also includes information on predatory lending, pyramid or ponzi schemes, reporting home improvement contractors who lack ethics and quality workmanship and credit card companies that aren’t in compliance with new federal laws. There are also several television spots being reserved around the nation for public service announcements.
The White House Pressers
The White House also had a thing or two to say about this important annual event. Citing “widespread abuses in America’s financial system”, President Obama committed to making the most of this opportunity. With more Americans who lost their live savings, retirements, homes and jobs, the crisis, as he explained,
cast a harsh light on the breakdown in oversight that led to an epidemic of irresponsibility, and it highlighted the need for common-sense regulations to protect the vast majority of Americans from the reckless actions of a few.
Those lessons are brought front and center during the week and a focus is also on empowering Americans so that stronger choices are made for families.
The White House released President Obama’s statement that reads, in part,
My Administration is ramping up consumer protection throughout the economy. Last year, we established a new unit to combat fraud and investigate the abusive lending and mortgage packaging that led to the housing crisis. We launched the “Know Before You Owe” campaign to help students and their parents make smart decisions about paying for college. We cracked down on unscrupulous lenders and credit card companies that charge hidden fees. And we did away with the practice of adding pages of misleading fine print to important financial agreements.
Indeed, all of those claims came full circle and with the CFPB serving as a powerful consumer ally, there’s no denying the great progress that’s been made.
With a focus on prevention, this is a great way for anyone to do an inventory of their current money practices so that they know they’re doing everything they can and that they’re taking advantage of all of the various financial tools that will lessen the odds of them falling victim to scam artists and identity thieves. It’s practical, timely and necessary in today’s ever changing financial landscape.
The economy has become the most unpredictable aspect of the country. Consumers are constantly looking for ways to safely buy cars, homes, obtain student loans and apply for credit cards that have transparent terms and conditions and the applicable safeguards in place. The many agencies that have teamed up for this important week all have those same goals in mind.
As the driving force behind our economy, consumers deserve clear rules and fair treatment,
said President Obama.
This week, we resolve to strengthen consumer rights and build a more transparent, efficient, effective marketplace.
Never before have there been so many variables in managing our daily finances. New tax laws, health care considerations, changing federal laws associated with credit cards, mortgages and student loans as well as internal shifts within different government agencies only serve as proof that this is a much needed awareness program. It’s also a great reminder that help is always available, regardless of the time of year.
Consumers are encouraged to visit the site, NCPW.gov as well as the other government financial websites such as consumerfinance.gov (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), the FTC.gov (Federal Trade Commission) and, of course, our blogs and articles.
Were you aware that this is National Consumer Protection Week? Do you plan to take advantage of any of the tools and information being offered? If so, what are your objectives?
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