The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is partnering with federal and state agencies to support National Consumer Protection Week, March 6-12. The annual campaign encourages consumers to know and understand their rights and responsibilities in order to make better-informed decisions.
DFI, the Better Business Bureau, Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Office of the Secretary of State of Washington, Washington State Labor & Industries, Internal Revenue Service and the Utilities and Transportation Commission have come together to create Consumer Protection Washington, an advocacy group focused on keeping consumers safe by identifying and educating common issues including identity theft, fraud, online safety, credit and debt protection, charity scams and safety in the home and elsewhere.
"DFI hears from consumers who have been victims of financial fraud all too often," DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. "That’s why - as a proud member of the Consumer Protection Washington partnership – DFI is working to help consumers learn to how to identify warning signs of financial scams and protect themselves from con artists."
Each agency will promote consumer protection tips on social media throughout the week. The BBB will also release national statistics, including the current top 10 complaint categories. DFI, in partnership with The Seattle Times Newspapers In Education (NIE), is providing a consumer education & protection section “Credit and Identity Theft” in this Sunday’s (March 6) Seattle Times, in addition to the many classrooms participating in the Seattle Times NIE program.
To avoid falling prey to scammers, it is important to remember the following:
- Do not give Social Security, financial or other personal information to strangers who make contact by phone, Internet or mail.
- Keep antivirus software up to date and be careful when surfing the Internet.
- Shred financial, tax, medical, insurance and other confidential records when no longer needed. BBB Northwest will be hosting a Secure Your ID Day in DuPont April 16. Visit Council of Better Business Bureau to find an event in your area.
- Trust your instincts. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To learn more about National Consumer Protection Week check out www.ncpw.gov.