For Immediate Release - February 05, 2007

Massachusetts Kicks Off 9th Annual Consumer Protection Week

Stay Tuned All Week for Useful Consumer Tips

Director of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCA) Daniel C. Crane today launched Consumer Protection Week, part of a nation-wide campaign to ensure that consumers are protected from unfair business practices. National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) runs from February 4-10, 2007.

NCPW highlights consumer education efforts in the fight against fraud in communities across the nation. This year, NCPW's national and state consumer officials encourage everyone to Read Up and Reach Out to be an informed consumer. By gathering and sharing information, consumers can be more confident, savvy, and safe in the marketplace. During this week, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation will help consumers protect themselves from identity theft, ensure drivers know their rights under the state's Lemon Law, and assist homeowners in preventing home improvement scams.

"The mission of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is to protect Massachusetts' consumers through advocacy, education, and ensuring fair and honest business practices among the companies and licensees within its regulatory jurisdiction," said Crane. "I am proud to be a part of this year's National Consumer Protection Week campaign."

This week OCA will focus daily on issues that affect Massachusetts consumers the most and offer tips and advice to assist individuals in making the most educated decisions.

ID Theft - Ensuring consumers have the practical information available to them to help protect themselves before they become victims.

Mortgages/Home Equity Loans - Provide educational tools to help individuals select the right loan product that will keep their most important asset from falling into financial jeopardy.

Resources - Improve the availability and usability of resources available to consumers regarding such issues as the lemon law, home improvement contractors and tenant/landlord rights. OCA's website has been re-launched this week to improve the access of resources available to consumers.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer information can help people recognize a rip-off, smell a scam, or find a fraud. Fraudulent promotions seek to exploit people's financial fantasies, needs, and optimism. But informed consumers are better able to see through frauds and deceptions, whether they take the form of questionable claims in an ad, too good to be true offers that come in the mail or email, or schemes that sound like sure-fire successes.

NCPW partner organizations provide practical - and tactical - tips so consumers can learn and tell others how to make well-informed purchase decisions, avoid scams, protect their personal information, and file a complaint if they're not satisfied. Individuals may read up and boost their consumer IQ at www.consumer.gov/ncpw .

Crane also encouraged individuals with questions regarding ID theft, the lemon law and home improvement contractor scams and other issues to call OCA's consumer hotline toll free in Massachusetts at 1-888-283-3757.

The Office of Consumer Affairs encourages everyone to read up and reach out, learn how to deter fraud and deception in the marketplace - and tell others. For more information visit www.consumer.gov/ncpw or www.mass.gov/consumer.