The Federal Trade Commission has launched the ninth annual National Consumer Protection Week, February 4-10, 2007, in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies and national advocacy organizations committed to consumer protection and education. This year’s theme, “Read Up and Reach Out. Be an Informed Consumer,” encourages consumers to arm themselves with knowledge. By gathering information – and sharing it with their friends and families – consumers can become more confident, savvy, and safe in the marketplace.
According to the FTC, consumer information can help people recognize a rip-off, smell a scam, or find a fraud. Fraudulent promotions seek to exploit people’s financial fantasies, needs, and optimism. But informed consumers are better able to see through frauds and deceptions, whether they take the form of questionable claims in an ad, “act now” offers that come in the mail or email, or Web sites promoting schemes that sound like sure-fire successes. No matter the pitch, an informed consumer is better able to recognize and avoid a scam when he sees one.
“For National Consumer Protection Week 2007, we’ve pulled together a wealth of information to help people boost their marketplace savvy,” said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers can check out our materials online or in print, read up on their consumer rights, and reach out to share that knowledge with others in their communities.”
The NCPW Web site, www.consumer.gov/ncpw, contains practical information for consumers and businesses alike. For organizations that would like to promote NCPW, there is an “Outreach Toolkit” full of resources like a press release, PowerPoint presentation, newsletter article, radio PSA scripts, NCPW logos, Web banners, and more.
NCPW is sponsored by the FTC, the Federal Citizen’s Information Center, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the National Consumers League, AARP, the Better Business Bureau, Call for Action, the Consumer Federation of America, and the National Association of Attorneys General.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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