For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce is joining state agencies across the country, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the IRS, the FBI, advocacy organizations like the Better Business Bureau, and private sector groups nationwide to celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 3-9, 2013.
“One of the most important responsibilities of the Commerce Department is to act as the watchdog for Minnesota consumers,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “It is our responsibility to educate consumers and prevent them from falling victims to scams and fraud while empowering them to make smart financial decisions for themselves and their families.”
For the past 15 years, this broad coalition has worked together to share tips and information about privacy protection, money and debt management, and how to recognize identity theft, frauds and scams. This year, the Commerce Department will focus on preventing wire transfer fraud among seniors, educating consumers to be cautious when taking out payday loans, sharing tips to protect consumer identity and use credit wisely, and discussing the consumer protections provided by the Department’s Weights and Measures Division.
On Tuesday, March 5, Commissioner Mike Rothman will join AARP, State Representative Joe Atkins and State Senator Terri Bonoff at a press conference to discuss the importance of HF 194/SF 247, a bill to protect Minnesota’s seniors from wire transfer fraud. The legislation will give the department more tools to fight this type of fraud by increasing penalties and regulatory actions.
“Too many seniors fall prey to scams and frauds on the internet – many of these crimes utilize wire transfers in the scheme, enabling criminals to steal seniors’ retirement funds,” said Commissioner Rothman “It’s an underreported crime, and hopefully consumers will come forward to seek help. This legislation gives the Commerce Department additional tools to fight these types of crimes, and it is particularly timely during 2013 National Consumer Protection Week.”
About the Minnesota Department of Commerce
The Minnesota Department of Commerce licenses and regulates insurance, financial institutions, securities, real estate, debt collectors, payday lenders, and other industries. In addition to levying civil penalties and suspending or revoking licenses and barring companies from doing business in the state, the department refers cases to criminal authorities for prosecution.
The Department offers tools for consumers to protect themselves against scam artists in the industries it regulates. Visit the Commerce Department's Website to learn how to file a complaint, look up enforcement actions, ensure an individual or company is licensed, or find unclaimed property.
Consumers with questions or concerns can contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce by phone at 651-296-2488 or by email at email@example.com.
Complaints can also be sent by mail to Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, Saint Paul, MN 55101.