National Consumer Protection Week is an annual event that takes place this year between March 6th and March 12, 2022. The goal of National Consumer Protection Week is to help consumers understand their rights and avoid frauds and scams. #NCPW2022 is being supported by various federal and state agencies as well as private law firms and advocates around the country who work in consumer protection.
During National Consumer Protection Week, consumers are encouraged to learn about consumer rights and protections. The Federal Trade Commission offers a variety of consumer education materials that can be accessed on its website. These materials include information about scams, how to protect your personal information, as well as how to resolve consumer disputes.
In addition to the FTC, other agencies that offer consumer protection resources include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Association of Attorneys General, and State Consumer Protection offices.
Private law firms and consumer advocates also offer a variety of consumer education materials. For example, the National Consumer Law Center and the BBB offer a variety of fact sheets on consumer topics such as consumer fraud, credit and debt, and student loans. Consumers should be sure to take advantage of the resources available to them and so that they can protect themselves from scams and other consumer abuses.
Key consumer protection topics
This year, there are a few key topics that consumers should be aware of. First, robocall scams come in all shapes and sizes. Statistically, in 2021, there was an estimated 4.9 billion robocalls placed in the United States every day. This means that chances are high that you or someone you know received a scam call. If you answered just one of those calls, you will likely get even more this year.
On March 10th, 2022, the “Slam the Scam” event will be held to raise awareness about the most common telemarketing scams which include calls pretending to be from the IRS, calls selling extended car warranties, and calls offering free vacations from timeshare companies. “We are literally telling our clients not to engage with telemarketers that use this technology. Just hang up the phone”, said attorney J. Andrew Meyer of the Finn Law Group. “Our concern is seniors and we want to shine a bright light on the fact that this is a group of people who are very vulnerable to scam artists. They are being heavily targeted for this reason,” continued Mr. Meyer.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network also offers a variety of resources for seniors, including a video on how to spot common scams, a quiz to test your scam knowledge, and a free app that alerts you to potential scams in your area.
NCPW is also a time when the consumer protection community comes together and shares information and resources with one another. Enforcement activity is also expected to increase during National Consumer Protection Week. The FTC alone brought more than 100 enforcement actions in 2019 and is expected to bring even more this year.
What you can do to protect yourself from scams and fraud?
- Stay aware of any scams that are currently happening. The FTC has a list of the top 10 scams that were reported in 2021.
- Be skeptical of any unsolicited offers and do your research before responding. Legitimate businesses will not send you an unsolicited offer.
- Never give out your personal information unless you know and trust the company. Always check to make sure that the website is legitimate and that the company is reputable.
- Keep your computer and other devices secure by using antivirus software and updating your software when prompted.
Lastly, file a complaint with the FTC or State Attorney General if you have been scammed or if you think you have been scammed.
National Consumer Protection Week is a time to celebrate the work that consumer protection organizations and advocates do, learn about consumer rights and protections, and raise awareness about scams and consumer fraud. Don’t be a victim, use these year round resources and help protect yourself and your loved ones. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection law firm with a focus on timeshare related issues. More information can be found on our website or by contacting us at 855-Finn-Law or 727-214-0700 for a free consultation.