March 1st through the 7th is Consumer Awareness Week. This year, the Federal Trade Commission (along with an army of partners) are providing a user-friendly set of free e-tools designed to help the average "Joe or Jolene" safely navigate the murky waters they face in the current economic environment.
Besides teaching us how to make the most of our financial resources, the tools also teach how to avoid the underground army of not very honest people who are spreading more economic doom and gloom with too-good-to-be-true schemes designed to take advantage of the grim economic situation.
The Web site for the 11th annual National Consumer Protection Week is now up and running. Launched by the Federal Trade Commission and its NCPW (National Consumer Protection Week) Steering Committee partners, the site gives people free tools to make smart business decisions in today’s economy. The information on the site is designed to help the average person get the most value for their money, whether they are trying to improve their credit history, tell the difference between a real deal and a rip-off, or protect their mortgage from foreclosure or foreclosure rescue scams. It explains their rights under various laws and tells how to file a complaint or seek assistance from the appropriate government agency.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scam artists, fraudsters, hackers and flim flam artists follow the headlines and use the current economic downturn to part people from their hard-earned (and ever-dwindling) financial resources. The NCPW Web site has tools (educational resources) to teach people how to recognize a ripoff, sniff out a scam and ensure they are getting value for their dollar in today's marketplace.
The site has tips on a wide range of topics from partner organizations. These tips include from how to get a free credit report to how to spot a telemarketing scam and how to deal with debt to how to deter and detect identity theft and from how to avoid home and auto repair scams. Also included is detailed information on how to file a complaint with the appropriate agency if you do run into an issue.