Attorney General Eric Holder opened the Consumer Protection Summit hosted by the Department of Justice along with leaders from many of the federal government's consumer protection agencies. The focus of this year's "Consumer Protection Week" is identity theft.
Capping off a week of events and announcements on consumer protection from federal agencies, the summit features panels on fraud and the elderly, common tax scams, and business opportunity fraud schemes.
Representatives from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, AARP and others outlined some common financial frauds that target the elderly and ways to protect older Americans from these schemes.
The Department of Justice Tax Division and the IRS outlined the some of the "dirty dozen," or the 12 tax scams to look out for this year, including identity theft, e-mails that seem to be from the IRS asking for personal information, and return preparer fraud.
The final panel discussed how business opportunity fraud works and how to avoid it. People are especially susceptible to this kind of fraud when the economy declines, because more people look into starting their own business and are tempted by offers of quick money. The panelists recommended that victims of this scam make formal reports and also report the fraud to the Better Business Bureau.