Agencies Arm Consumers Against ID Theft and Fraud
SEATTLE — Better Business Bureau is partnering with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office for National Consumer Protection Week, March 1-7. Both agencies are committed to providing tools and tips to protect consumers from scams and to help them make better purchasing decisions.
“You are your own best consumer protection advocate,” says Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “I am proud to partner with the Better Business Bureau during National Consumer Protection Week. This is an ideal time to ensure you know how to identify scams and make smart buying decisions.”
The two consumer protection agencies strive to address growing problems surrounding identity theft, fraud, technology and safety—and not just during National Consumer Protection Week, but every week of the year.
“We are proud and excited to join forces with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office for National Consumer Protection Week,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “In the aftermath of recent data breaches nationwide, there is a new sense of urgency for all consumers and businesses when it comes to safeguarding their information.”
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.5 million consumer complaints in 2014. Identity theft topped the list, making up 13 percent of all complaints received.
BBB and the AGO offer the following tips for avoiding scams:
• Thoroughly research businesses or organizations before shopping with them or donating money. Start at bbb.org/search.
• Keep antivirus software up-to-date and surf the Internet with caution.
• Shred all physical copies of important documents when they are no longer needed. Review BBB’s Records Retention Schedule for tips, and find community shred events on the AGO’s webpage.
• Do not give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account numbers, to strangers who make contact by phone, Internet or mail.
• Finally, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To get involved in National Consumer Protection Week, check out the resources at ncpw.gov, visit BBB’s Facebook page and follow the AGO on Twitter for daily tips. Join the discussion on Twitter using hashtag #NCPW2015.
Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is one of 112 in North America and the largest BBB by geographical service area. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit public reporting agency committed to trust in the marketplace. For more information on ethical business standards and BBB Accreditation, or to access free BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, scam alerts or find local event information, contact BBB or visit bbb.org.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.