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National Consumer Protection Week starts today

Looking to protect yourself from fraud, identity theft and scams? Maybe you’re wondering about the best way to use credit, how to shop for a used car or maximize your security online. Then, you may be one of many taking part in the 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), which kicks off today.

During this week, government agencies and nonprofits nationwide are offering a wealth of tips and information. In fact, your Better Business Bureau is participating in several free events featuring various agencies, distributing information and answering your questions on scams.

Each year, more than 30 million consumers are defrauded, according to the Financial Fraud Research Center. Only one in three older fraud victims admit to being scammed, compared to about one in two victims under age 55.

Your Better Business Bureau suggests simple tips to follow to avoid falling victim to scammers:

• Check your credit report regularly.

• Monitor account statements to be sure you can account for all activity.

• Shred credit card applications and statements before throwing them out. Also, cut up credit cards before pitching them.

• Never give out personal or financial information to unfamiliar organizations.

• Shop safely online and update your computer with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

• Get everything in writing and always read the fine print.

• Never wire money to someone you don’t know.

Also, take an opportunity to checkout, which offers a wide selection of free materials to help you learn how to protect your privacy, stay safe online, manage your money, avoid identity theft, understand mortgages and steer clear of frauds and scams.

Your Better Business Bureau encourages you to take full advantage of your consumer rights and make better-informed purchasing decision. Remember, you can visit and sign-up for seven days of tips from your BBB during NCPW. You can also call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301 for lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in specific industries and business reviews on companies you’re considering using.

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