By Patricia Uceda, Spring 2015 Graduate Research Assistant
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, recently gave a proclamation regarding National Consumer Protection Week and its important role in educating Americans on how to protect themselves from financial fraud and identity theft. While our country has made great strides since the financial setbacks caused by the Great Depression, fraud and theft unfortunately still threaten the financial security of American citizens on a daily basis.
In order to address those concerns, Obama detailed the many actions that his Administration has taken to better protect consumers. They are currently working on creating a single national standard that would alert consumers when their information has been stolen or misused. In addition, they are encouraging companies to equip consumers with credit scores free of charge, and are pushing cybersecurity legislation that would clarify what companies are obligated to do when sensitive data is breached.
In addition, Obama’s Administration is helping the Federal Government transition to a more secure PIN payment system at National Parks and Postal Service offices to reduce the risk of identity theft. They are also proposing a new rule to require retirement advisors to put their clients’ financial interests before their own. Lastly, they have introduced a draft of a new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to safeguard basic principles that will ultimately defend personal privacy while allowing industry to keep innovating.
Consumers should also take steps to protect themselves from predatory and deceptive lending practices, identity theft, financial scams, and fraud. The best way to do so is by empowering themselves through knowledge. You can visit www.NCPW.gov and www.IdentityTheft.gov to learn more about the common risks consumers face and the steps you can take to defend yourselves.