National Consumer Protection Week 2016

national consumer protection weekThe FTC took to Twitter this morning to announce the beginning of National Consumer Protection Week (“NCPW”) 2016 using the hashtag #NCPW2016.  According to NCPW.gov, National Consumer Protection Week “is a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.”  The “coordinated campaign” during National Consumer Protection Week includes the participation of more than 100 state and federal agencies, state attorney generals, citizen groups, and other consumer protection organizations.

At NCPW.gov, consumers will find tips, publications, blog posts, and other resources from experts regarding consumer protection.  NCPW.gov even offers a toolkit for consumers, complete with press releases, newsletter articles, flyers and a video that consumers can use to create their own consumer protection campaign.  Consumers can also order free resources to share from the FTC or from one of the other NCPW partners.

“The FTC and our NCPW partners are on the front lines of consumer protection every day,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We hope people will take advantage of this week to find resources that will help them fight scams and fraud in their communities all year long.”

FTC to Host Twitter Chat

As part of NCPW 2016, the FTC is hosting a Twitter chat on Tuesday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m. EST in order to “answer questions and provide links to resources on identity theft and imposter scams.”  The FTC has asked participants to use the hashtag #NCPW2016 and to direct any questions to @FTC to join the conversation.

FTC and CCAN Join Forces During NCPW 2016

Also as part of NCPW 2016, the FTC is joining forces with the Cleveland Consumer Action Network (“CCAN”) to provide free information and resources to the public in Cleveland, Ohio and surrounding areas.  According to a blog on NCPW.gov, “CCAN is a group of federal, state, and local agencies, community organizations, and advocates that focuses on important consumer issues and provides useful consumer resources and outreach opportunities.”  The FTC’s Cleveland-based office is a member of CCAN.

CCAN Events During NCPW 2016

On March 9, 2016, CCAN plans to present a guest speaker from SecureState, who NCPW.gov says will do a free live presentation at Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Metro Campus to discuss online security and specifically how it relates to online job applications.  The presenter will also talk about the cybersecurity issues facing college students NCPW.gov has said.  That same day and at that same location, CCAN will also have staff on hand to answer questions from students, faculty, and staff on various issues, including cybersecurity, identity theft, debt collection and credit reports.  CCAN staff will also distribute free resources and hold giveaways for participants.

A number of other free events are planned for NCPW in Cleveland and the surrounding areas, including:

  • Monday, March 7, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

What: Channel 3 Consumer Phone Bank

Where:  Call the station during the nightly news for the Consumer Phone Bank

Hosted by Channel 3.  Consumers can call to get answers to their consumer-related questions or referrals to useful resources.  CCAN members from FTC, BBB, Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs, OH AG, Legal Aid, HUD, Apprisen, and OCC with expertise in consumer protection issues will answer calls.

  • Wednesday, March 9, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

What:   You’ve Been Hacked!

Where:  Tri-C Metro Campus, ATTC Building, Room MATT C139, Cleveland

Hosted by CCAN and co-sponsored by Tri-C.  During this free live presentation by SecureState, the speaker will discuss the cybersecurity issues affecting college students and what they can do to protect themselves and their information.  Representatives from law enforcement and community organizations with expertise in consumer protection issues will be on hand to answer questions and offer free consumer resources.

  • Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM

What:  Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Fair

Where:  Rhodes State Office Tower, 30 East Broad Street, Columbus

Hosted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  Consumer experts will be on hand to answer questions and distribute free resources.

  • Thursday, March 10, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

What:  NCPW Facebook Live Chat

Where: Log in to the BBB’s website

Hosted by the BBB.  CCAN members from BBB, Legal Aid, and Cuyahoga County Consumer Affairs, with expertise in consumer protection issues will be online to chat with consumers and answer consumer-related questions or offer referrals to useful resources.

  • Saturday, March 12, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

What:  Consumer Brief Advice Clinic

Where:  Cleveland Public Library, Rice Branch, 115535 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland

Hosted by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and FTC.  Attorneys will be available in-person to listen to consumer-related and other civil issues and will then offer brief advice or referrals to useful resources.  Consumers will be seen on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Attorneys cannot give advice on criminal issues.

While National Consumer Protection Week focuses on protecting consumers, it can offer lessons for businesses as well.  NCPW events and related information can provide insight into how governmental agencies are advising consumers on best practices regarding consumer rights and informed decision-making.  Businesses that regularly engage consumers should note the topics and trends discussed during NCPW, especially those addressed during the FTC’s Twitter chat on Tuesday.

Photo cred.: bbb.org