FTC Starts Consumer Protection Week

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The Federal Trade Commission launched the seventh annual National Consumer Protection Week this weekend in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies as well as national advocacy groups committed to consumer protection and education. The designated week ends on Feb. 12.

This year's theme, "Identity Theft: When Fact Becomes Fiction," focuses on minimizing the risk of identity theft and taking quick action if an identity thief strikes. Identity theft affects 10 million Americans annually. During the week, participating agencies will work together to help consumers and businesses prevent identity theft and help victims restore their good names.

The Web site www.consumer.gov/ncpw contains information for consumers and businesses on topics including phishing scams, telecommunications fraud, Internet fraud, the theft of printed documents with personal information as well as protecting employees from identity theft in the workplace. The site also contains consumer information regarding steps to take for those who become victims.

Organizations interested in promoting National Consumer Protection Week can download materials such as a poster, flier, sample press materials, public service announcements, Web-ready logos, banner ads and buttons.

Identity thieves open new accounts in other people's names and accumulate debts on existing accounts by using consumers' Social Security numbers, bank account information, addresses or phone numbers. Victims may spend years and considerable money restoring their credit histories. Some consumers have been denied jobs or insurance, or been arrested for crimes they did not commit. A recent survey indicated that the dollar volume of the crime totaled $52.6 billion in 2004, with much of that cost accrued by businesses.

National Consumer Protection Week is sponsored by the FTC, the Federal Citizen Information Center, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the National Consumers League, AARP, the Better Business Bureau, Call for Action, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Consumer Affairs Administrators, the California Office of Privacy Protection, the Ohio Attorney General's Office, the Identity Theft Resource Center and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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