The following post appears courtesy of the Access to Justice Initiative. If you are in Washington D.C. on March 8, you are invited to attend a Consumer Protection Summit presented by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s Consumer Protection Working Group. The Summit will expose some of the most egregious activities committed by fraudsters today, provide information on how consumers can protect themselves, and share what the Consumer Protection Working Group is doing to combat fraud in these areas. Some of the dangers that will be discussed include:
- Financial Fraud Scams: American consumers owe a whopping $11.31 trillion dollars in debt and are behind on paying about $1.01 trillion of that amount. Mortgages, student loans, and credit cards account for a large portion of that debt. Consumers are often haunted with huge monthly payments, and fraudsters take advantage of that with debt relief scams, tax scams, and other financial fraud scams. Scams target individuals who are in financial distress, but they fail to fulfill their promises, and typically leave consumers worse off than when they started.
- Dietary Supplement Dangers: Dietary supplements may seem harmless, or even beneficial for your health, but are not evaluated or reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their safety and effectiveness before they are placed on store shelves or sold online. They may contain questionable ingredients that can cause negative physical reactions in consumers with certain medical conditions or those taking other medications. Consumers need to do their research to make sure they don’t do more harm than good when they turn to supplements.
- Lottery and Imposter Scams: Lottery scams prey on the elderly and other potentially vulnerable individuals and are increasingly common. A typical scenario involves a fraudster convincing an individual that he or she has won the lottery, but then tells the target that in order to collect the prize, administrative fees or taxes must be paid up front. Scammers will take on a wide array of other false identities to convince victims to part with their money. They pretend they are police officers, federal agents, bank representatives, or even a romantic partner or relative who needs money.
If you are interested in learning more about identifying scams and how to protect yourself, please attend the Consumer Protection Summit:
March 8, 2013
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Gewirz Student Center at Georgetown Law School
120 F Street NW (near the Judiciary Square Metro)
Seating is limited. Please RSVP by contacting Christine.Cardwell@usdoj.gov (or at 202-514-2674). The Consumer Protection Working Group (CPWG) is part of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force which was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The CPWG brings together federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, regulators, and other stakeholders to protect consumers from fraud that can devastate victims and cause widespread economic harm. Consumer fraud comes in many forms and can be found in fraud on our nation’s servicemembers, payday lending, high-pressure telemarketing schemes, internet scams, business opportunity scams, and unscrupulous third party payment processors. Scam artists often target vulnerable populations such as the unemployed and those already struggling with debt. Through this partnership, the CPWG is working to strengthen consumer protection efforts, leverage resources, enhance civil and criminal enforcement of consumer fraud and educate the public in an effort to prevent consumers from being victimized. For more information about the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.