Secretary of State and BBB Team Up to Educate Hoosiers During National Consumer Protection Week

INDIANAPOLIS (Mar. 3, 2011) — For 13 years, government and non-profit entities have joined together for National Consumer Protection Week to inform consumers about protecting privacy, deciphering advertising messages, learning more about credit and debt and steering clear of fraud and scams.

National Consumer Protection Week 2011 will take place March 6-12, 2011. During this week, Indiana Investment Watch (a program of the Secretary of State) and the Better Business Bureau serving Central Indiana will travel to local library branches to educate Hoosiers on local and national scams as well as investment fraud and identity theft and provide tips to avoid becoming a victim.

Free presentations will be held at the following:

  • 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7 at the Hancock County Public Library (Greenfield, Ind.)
  • 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 at the Monroe County Public Library (Bloomington, Ind.)
  • 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 14 at the Bartholomew County Public Library (Columbus, Ind.)

“It is important to get out in the local community and educate our neighbors and friends,” said Nick Ostergaard, BBB advertising review and marketing coordinator. “Consumer education can go a long way in shutting down the scams and fraud that we see every day.”

The BBB serving Central Indiana processed more than 10,500 consumer complaints in 2010 and provided more than 500,000 instances of service, which included taking consumer phone calls, handling consumer complaints and helping to guide Hoosiers away from scams and fraud.

Similarly, Indiana Investment Watch educates Hoosiers about the various types of investment and mortgage fraud and promotes financial literacy in Hoosiers of all ages. The program is not funded by taxpayer dollars but rather by the money collected in fines and penalties levied against violators in securities fraud cases. In 2010, Indiana Investment Watch held 106 educational presentations in 25 Indiana counties.

“By getting out and educating Hoosiers, we provide the best defense against investment scams and fraud,” Secretary of State Charlie White said. “Our goal is to keep individuals’ and businesses’ hard-earned money in their pockets and out of Ponzi schemes and other investment frauds.”

The BBB and Indiana Investment Watch will provide a presentation and Q&A session to help educate Hoosiers on the dangers of marketplace scams and fraud. Topics of discussion will include protecting consumers against:

  • Common fake check scams
  • Fly-by-night businesses
  • Misleading advertisements
  • Identity theft
  • Online invasion of privacy
  • Investment fraud
  • Mortgage fraud

Thousands of Hoosiers fall victim to scams and fraud each year. Unfortunately, most victims are uninformed of the signs of the scam or fraud and the potential dangers they pose. The Better Business Bureau and Indiana Investment Watch aim to prevent Hoosiers from becoming victimized through education, information and guidance.

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Melanie Woods

Contact: Nick Ostergaard
317-488-2221 x122