DFPI & AARP Host New Webinar Series for Senior Citizens Day
On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847 declaring August 21 as National Senior Citizens Day to raise awareness about issues that affect senior citizens and their quality of life. Various events and activities are organized each year on Senior Citizens Day to raise awareness of supporting older people and recognizing their achievements. Some people raise awareness through social media and news stories, while others organize special community gatherings inviting senior citizens, their families, friends, and volunteers. Some businesses give special discounts or deals to senior citizens on or around the third Sunday of August. We can all show our appreciation by reaching out to the older people in our lives, be they family, friends, or neighbors.
Unfortunately, older adults continue to be prime targets for frauds and scams. It is more important than ever to learn how to recognize warning signs and how to protect yourself. You are much less likely to become a victim of frauds and scams if you are educated. Since the pandemic, many Californians, especially seniors and retirees, have experienced and are still experiencing financial hardships and are looking for financial relief. Fraudsters have become more sophisticated with ways to gain access to our personal and financial information.
In recognition of National Senior Citizens Day, the DFPI has partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) California State Office to offer a free, four-part Scam Chat Wednesdays Webinar Series. This exciting new program will occur each Wednesday in August, starting August 10, from 12-1pm PST to discuss trending topics concerning seniors, such as how to protect yourself from fraud, home improvement scams, investment scams, and financial education and empowerment. To register for any of the Scam Chat Wednesdays webinars, visit the registration pages provided below:
For more information about DFPI’s Education & Outreach programs, events calendar, and other consumer protection resources, please visit the DFPI Education & Outreach Webpage. Recordings of select events can also be viewed on the DFPI YouTube Channel.
Date & Time
August 4 10:00–11:30am
Expanding Access to Small Dollar Loans for Low- and Moderate- Income Consumers in the Central Valley Webinar
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will host a free webinar highlighting effective strategies to increase consumer credit and financial capability through partnerships among financial institutions, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and non-profits. Bankers can learn how to offer small dollar loans (SDLs) through core technology as there are several emerging small dollar loan products available. To register, visit the Expanding Access to Small Dollar Loans Webinar Registration Webpage. For more information, visit the DFPI Small Dollar Loans Pilot Program Webpage.
August 10 12:00–1:00pm
Scam Chat Wednesdays (Part 1) — Trending Scams
According to the latest report by the FBI, millions of older adults fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme each year. It’s important more than ever to protect your personal and financial information. Join AARP and the DFPI for a virtual webinar to learn how to protect yourself from fraud and scams. Topics include Cyber/Internet Scams, Telephone Scams, Identity Theft, Using Online Services Safely, and more. To register, visit the Trending Scams Webinar Registration Webpage.
August 11 10:00am–2:00pm
Placer Protect Resource Fair
The DFPI will have a resource table at the Placer Protect Resource Fair. The resource fair will offer a variety of educational resources for the community with more than 50 senior based providers attending. The event will be held at the Maidu Community Center at 1550 Maidu Drive in Roseville, CA. For additional information, visit the Placer Protect Resource Fair Webpage or call (916) 774-5950.
August 12 9:00–11:00am
Senior Scam Stopper
Senior Scam Stopper with the DFPI, Contractors State License Board, and Office of Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (AD 66). To RSVP or for more information, call (310) 375-0691.
August 17 12:00–1:00pm
Scam Chat Wednesdays (Part 2) — Home Improvement Scams
There is a lot of misleading information, advertising, and promotions out there that target homeowners about solar installation and other home improvements. Join AARP and the DFPI for a virtual webinar to learn about contracting, home improvement financing scams, and the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. To register, visit the Home Improvements Webinar Registration Webpage.
August 17 10:30–11:30am 6:00–7:00pm
Protect Yourself from Fraud
The DFPI and Contractors State Licensing Board (CLSB) will host a webinar to share information and resources to help protect yourself from new and emerging financial scams, construction-related scams, and unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors. The seminar will be at Mission Oaks Community Center at 4701 Gibbons Drive in Carmichael, CA. For more information, call (916) 972-0336.
August 24 12:00–1:00pm
Student Loan Updates and Repayment Options Webinar
Student loan repayments may be restarting as soon as September 1, 2022. Get the latest news and updates in this free webinar and learn about the different repayment options available to borrowers. To register, visit the Student Loan Updates and Repayment Options Webinar Registration Webpage.
August 24 12:00–1:00pm
Scam Chat Wednesdays (Part 3) — Investment Scams
If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is! Since the onset of the pandemic, many consumers may be considering investment opportunities to increase their wealth. With new innovative financial products emerging, it’s important to learn about these products and why you should check before you invest. Join AARP and the DFPI for a virtual webinar to learn how to avoid becoming a victim of financial and investment frauds and scams and the resources available to report it. To register, visit the Investment Scams Webinar Registration Webpage.
August 31 12:00pm–1:00pm
Understanding Student Loans Webinar
In this free webinar, learn what it means to sign for student loans. Topics will include student loan debt, public service loan forgiveness, total debt discharge, financial literacy, and credit scores. This webinar is in partnership with the Office of Assemblymember Adam Gray (AD 21). To register, visit the Understanding Student Loans Webinar Registration Page.
Be proactive and become financially empowered! The ever-changing face of technology makes it critical to educate yourself before making financial decisions. Join AARP and the DFPI for a virtual webinar to learn how being financially educated can empower you and protect you from financial fraud. To register, visit the Financial Empowerment Webinar Registration Webpage.
September 1 12:00pm–3:00pm
Senior Day Resource Fair & Vet Connect at Monterey County Fair
Visit the DFPI’s resource booth at this fun annual event to learn about how you can protect yourself from financial fraud and scams. The event will be held indoors in the Monterey County Fair & Event Center, Seaside Room, 2004 Fairground Road in Monterey, CA. For more information visit, the Monterey County Fair Webpage or call (831) 372-5863.
Financial Education Is Key for National Financial Awareness Day
National Financial Awareness Day is celebrated each year on August 14 and is a good reminder to take investing and saving seriously to build financial stability and prepare for the future. It celebrates implementing sound investment practices so you can put your money to work for you, spend less time working, and have more time to enjoy living your life. Because money is important to our overall peace of mind, Financial Awareness Day is a great time to review where you are now and where you’re going financially. Seek out more knowledge about finances, such as joining an investment or money club, reading personal finance books and blogs, or meeting with a financial advisor. It’s an occasion to celebrate by making wise financial moves, like starting a savings account, consolidating high-interest debt, or making wise investment decisions. If you’re looking for ways to improve your financial life, National Financial Awareness Day is the perfect excuse to get started. You can find a wealth of information and resources concerning budgeting, credit & credit reports, fraud & scam awareness, housing & mortgages, savings & planning for retirement, small business resources, and more on the DFPI Consumer Financial Education & Resources Webpage.
Californians with Student Loans Campaign Updates
DFPI to Co-Lead California Student Debt Challenge
The DFPI has partnered with other government agencies and nonprofits to co-lead the California Student Debt Challenge. As part of this initiative, the DFPI will help urge qualified employers across the state to encourage and support their employees in applying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The best part is that this benefit comes at zero cost to employers because it’s a free federal program. The DFPI is joining the campaign to help raise awareness about the PSLF program for the months of August, September, and October. Learn more about the California Student Debt Challenge here! The California Legislature is also weighing an opportunity to declare August Student Loan Debt Awareness Month through two recently-introduced resolutions, Assembly Resolution 118 (Bonta) and Senate Resolution 96 (Limon).
Student Loan Updates and Repayment Options Webinar
The next DFPI Californians with Student Loans webinar, Student Loan Updates and Repayment Options, will be held on August 24 from 12pm to 1pm PST. Student loan repayment may be restarting as soon as September 1, 2022. Get the latest news and updates in this free webinar and learn about the different repayment options available to borrowers. The DFPI will host the event in partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC). To register, visit the Student Loan Updates and Repayment Options Webinar Registration Webpage.
Student Loan Repayment Pause May End August 31
The student loan repayment pause may be ending as soon as August 31, 2022. Now is an opportune time to check on your student loan account, verify your balances, review your payment plan, and set up automatic payment options should repayments begin in September. There are programs to forgive federal student loans for specific borrowers. There are also instances where borrowers may be eligible for student loan discharge. Additionally, in December 2021, millions of student loans were transferred to new loan servicers. If you have questions about your student loan or wish to verify if your loan has been transferred, contact your loan servicer. You can find out who your servicer is by logging in to your Federal Student Aid Account or calling (800) 433-3243.
Millions of Student Loans Being Serviced by New Companies: What You Need to Know
Millions of student loans are now being serviced by new companies. If you’re impacted by this, by now you should have received notification of the change. The loan transfers went into effect at the end of last year, but news about it flew under the radar since payments on student loans have been on a pandemic repayment pause. Student loans managed by FedLoan have been transferred to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) as well as to Aidvantage, EdFinancial, or Nelnet. Student Loans managed by Navient have been transferred to Aidvantage. Student loans managed by Granite State have been transferred to EdFinancial. The loans are being transferred, not sold. That means the change will not impact the existing terms, conditions, interest rates, loan discharge or forgiveness programs, or available repayment plans on the loans.
Many student loan borrowers were not aware that their accounts had been transferred and experienced false hope of loan forgiveness when they logged on to their old account and saw a zero balance only to discover later that their balance had been transferred to another loan servicer. Before student loan payments are set to resume, it is highly recommended to verify your loan servicer and your loan balances and correct any errors that may have occurred during the account transfer. And, if your financial situation has changed since you last reviewed your loan repayment options, consider applying for an income-driven repayment plan with your loan servicer. For more information, read About 2 Million People Are About to Get a New Student Loan Servicer. Here’s What You Need to Know.
Biden Administration Unveils Sweeping New Rules for Student Loans
The Biden administration released on July 6 proposed new regulations that would significantly reform the federal student loan system. The proposed changes would curb runaway balance growth due to student loan interest capitalization and would streamline and expand existing student loan forgiveness programs. Highlights of the proposed new rules include:
Eliminating interest-capitalizing events that lead to runaway balance growth that trap borrowers in debt.
Codifying some of the temporary changes implemented by the Biden Administration under the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver program.
Reforming Borrower Defense to Repayment, a federal student loan forgiveness program for borrowers who were defrauded by their school.
Once finalized, the proposed rules are expected to be effective as of July 1, 2023. For more information, read Biden Administration Unveils Sweeping New Rules To Curb Student Loan Interest, Improve Student Loan Forgiveness Programs.
FTC Sends $2 Million+ to Students Harmed by Debt Relief Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending 22,817 checks totaling more than $2 million to borrowers who lost money to a student loan debt-relief scam that operated under the name Student Debt Doctor. In late 2017, the FTC Sued Student Debt Doctor alleging that the company tricked consumers into believing they could receive immediate relief from monthly loan payments and complete loan forgiveness in return for a large, upfront fee. The defendants also told students that their loans were in forbearance when they were not, causing consumers to neglect required payments and to suffer diminished credit scores. For more information, read Federal Trade Commission Sends More than $2 Million to Students Harmed by Debt Relief Scam.
Back-to-School: What to Know before You Go
Money as You Grow Educational Program
One of the most important things you can teach your child is how to become financially independent. From childhood to adulthood, there are critical skills, knowledge, and lifestyle habits that you can pass on to help keep them financially on track. You don’t have to be a money expert to do this since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed the Money as You Grow educational program. This free online program is designed to help you determine when your child is reaching age-appropriate money milestones and choose activities and conversation starters to engage your child in active learning. It’s never too early or too late to talk to your child about money management. For more information, visit the CFPB Money as You Grow Webpage.
Your Financial Path to Graduation
An important part of making it to graduation is knowing how you’re going to pay for your college education. To help you keep on track, the CFPB has developed the Your Financial Path to Graduation online student budgeting tool. Whether you’re enrolled full-time in a postsecondary program, or you are planning part-time enrollment, you can use this tool to keep track of your student aid and tuition costs as well as other educational costs and living expenses. For more information, visit the CFPB Your Financial Path to Graduation Webpage.
SMS Giveaways and Freebies Scams
Congratulations! You’ve just received a text message saying that you’ve been awarded a free back-to-school shopping spree. All you have to do is visit a website, provide your email address, and you will be rewarded with endless emails, texts, and automated phone calls from the company you’ve just given your information to. For more information, read How To Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages
Social Media Scams
Facebook sidebar, advertising deals, offers, and giveaways that seem too good to be true, often are. Common back-to-school scams show up in the form of ads promising desirable mobile devices, $1000 gift cards, and department store vouchers for a fraction of the price. They are particularly dangerous because they often only depend on the user clicking the advertisement. Then, rather than finding yourself one click away from your $19.99 iPad, you’re downloading free malware on your electronic device. For more information, read FTC: US Consumers Lost $770 Million in Social Media Scams in 2021
Some scammers set up phony websites offering low-cost school supplies. But when consumers enter their credit card information and complete their purchases, the items they ordered never arrive. The scammers, though, now have their credit card information and can use it to rack up unauthorized purchases. In some cases, the scam is a lot more nefarious, and the fake company’s website will infect the victim’s device with malware, or the scammer may demand a processing fee before the victim can claim their supposed prize. For more information about online shopping scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Online Shopping Webpage.
Nonexistent Apartments, Books, and Moving Services Scams
Scammers know what college students might be searching for a new apartment, textbooks, or moving services. They also know that they may be able to lure students with a great deal, ask for payment upfront, and then simply never deliver the promised goods or services. Protect yourself by avoiding making online purchases without first validating the website and checking online reviews. For example, check to see if the company is listed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), ensure they have a real physical address and phone number, and, when possible, get a referral from family or friends. Never agree to rent an apartment without seeing it both inside and outside and don’t make a deposit or pay rent over the phone. In terms of choosing a moving company, only do business with reputable companies in your area. If it’s a long-distance move, try to find an escrow service that will hold your payment until the job is complete. For more information, visit the FTC Rental Listing Scams Webpage.
School can be expensive, especially if you or your children attend private schools or are enrolled in college. That’s why scholarship dollars are so enticing, and scammers know this. In one type of scholarship scam, cybercriminals ask for an application fee. That fee might not be large, maybe just $25 or $35, but if scammers get enough people to pay this fee the profits can add up. Legitimate scholarships don’t require that students pay to apply. Some scammers offer fake scholarship search services. They send you a text or email saying that they’ll find scholarship offers for you, for a fee. If you don’t earn one of these scholarships, they’ll promise to refund your money. This is another scam. Once you send your money, these search companies typically disappear. For more information, read How to Avoid Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
Scammers aren’t above preying on the fears that both students and parents have when it comes to the high cost of tuition. In these scams, fraudsters send emails or texts to students or parents saying that they can reduce or erase the student loan debt that they owe. This, of course, is not true. The scammers might also ask for a fee. Student loan scams lurk in ads on Google searches for Student Loan Relief. With current state and federal programs assistance, there is no company that charges for assistance that current free state and federal programs cannot duplicate. For more information, read Consumer advisory: Don’t give money or information to scammers promising student loan forgiveness.
New State Guidance on Back-to-School K-12 Vaccinations
Each August, National Immunization Awareness Month helps raise awareness of the importance of immunization in preventing the spread of potentially harmful diseases by encouraging everyone to make sure they are current on the necessary vaccinations. August also marks back-to-school in most school districts in California. The state recently updated its K-12 guidance for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. The guidance is effective July 1, 2022 and includes information on COVID-19 mitigation strategies that schools can use to keep their students, staff, and communities safe in the upcoming school year. This guidance is intended to support safe, in-person learning that is critical to student well-being and development. For more information on K-12 vaccinations, visit the California Department of Public Health Shots for School Webpage or read the COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year guidance document.
COVID-19 Summer Travel Safety Tips
Traveling to or from California this summer? The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently released updated travel guidelines to align with the CDC travel guidelines for testing before and after travel, vaccinations, and mask mandates to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For details, read the CDPH Travel Guidelines Flyer. Will your travels be taking you outside the state? The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a helpful online tool, State-by-State Guide to Face Mask Requirements, to help you navigate the numerous mask mandates that vary widely across the country.
Planning a Summer Trip? Watch Out for These Travel Scams
Now that lockdowns have ended and travel restrictions have been lifted, more than half of American adults are planning to take a trip this summer. Cybercriminals have taken notice and are prepared to con unsuspecting travelers searching for last-minute getaway deals. You may get a call, text message, flyer in the mail, or you may see an online ad promising free or low-cost vacations. Scammers are often behind these offers. You may end up paying hidden fees, or worse, after you pay, you might find out it’s all a scam.
Vacation Home Scams
These days, it’s easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their vacation homes online. But scammers are also trying to get your rental booking. For example, they hijack real rental listings and advertise them as their own, so when you show up for your vacation, you find out that other people are also booked for the same property. You have no place to stay, and your money is gone. Other scammers don’t even bother with real rentals, they make up listings for places that aren’t really for rent or don’t exist. Dishonest travel package promoters might ask you to pay with wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency, but that’s a sure sign of a scam. If you pay with wire transfers, gifts cards, or cryptocurrency and there’s a problem with what you paid for, you’ll lose your money, and it’s almost impossible to get it back.
Free Vacation Scams
You’ve probably seen ads online for free vacations. Or you may have gotten emails, calls, or text messages saying you’ve won a vacation, even though you never entered a contest. If you respond to these offers, you’ll quickly learn that you have to pay some fees and taxes first, so your free vacation isn’t really free. A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay for a free prize.
International Travel Document Scams
You might see sites that claim to be able to help you get an international travel visa, passport, or other documents. These sites are often just copycats of the U.S. Department of State website. But these sites charge you high fees, including fees for services that are free on the U.S. Government’s official site.
International Driving Permit Scams
An international driving permit (IDP) translates your government-issued driver’s license into 10 languages. Scammers create websites to sell fake IDPs or try to sell them to you in person or some other way. If you buy a fake IDP, you’ll be paying for a worthless document. But, even worse, you also could face legal problems or travel delays if you’re detained for using it to drive in a foreign country. Only the U.S. Department of State, American Automobile Association (AAA), and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) are authorized to issue IDPs.
Ways To Avoid Travel Scams
Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or with a debit card and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.
Do your own research. Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals, and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” See what others say about them before you commit. Also, check that the address of the property really exists. If the property is located in a resort, call the front desk and confirm their location and other details on the contract.
Use comparison websites and apps. When you shop for airfares, know that comparison websites and apps can charge more than the airline for services like changing or canceling a flight. Also, make sure you know whether you’re buying a ticket or just making a reservation.
Consider using a travel app. Travel apps can help you search for airfares and hotel rates. Some of them give you fare alerts and real-time deals. But make sure you know whether you’re buying from the app company or the actual airline or resort. It can affect things like whether you can get a refund or get travel points.
If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed. Find out whether an agency is licensed at the US Travel Insurance Association Website. Make a copy of your insurance card and take with you on your trip.
For more information about travel scams, read Avoid Scams When You Travel.
The DFPI issued a Consumer Alert on July 21 regarding enforcement actions against multiple debt collectors for unlawful and deceptive acts or practices in violation of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL) and/or unlicensed activity under the Debt Collection Licensing Act (DCLA). In three separate enforcement actions, the DFPI ordered S.K. & Associates LLC, Pinnacle Assets and Recovery, and ASG Recovers to pay penalties totaling $97,500.00 in the aggregate and to desist and refrain from violating these consumer protection laws.
The DFPI has seen an increase in complaints involving fake debt collectors attempting to collect false debts. Fake debt collectors start by contacting you by phone, text message, mail, or email and claiming that you owe a debt. Before paying the collector, make sure that the debt is a valid debt you owe and not just a scam. The scammer will use various techniques (lies, intimidation, harassment) to get you to pay. For tips on how to recognize a debt collection scam and how to protect yourself, read the DFPI Consumer Alert: Beware of Fake Debt Collectors!
The DFPI is investigating multiple companies nationwide that offer customers interest-bearing crypto asset accounts (crypto-interest accounts). A crypto-interest account allows customers to lend crypto assets to the company and, in exchange, receive interest paid in crypto assets. Due to market conditions, some of these companies are preventing customers from withdrawing from and transferring between their accounts. The DFPI has issued a Consumer Alert to warn California consumers and investors that many crypto-interest account providers may not have adequately disclosed risks customers face when they deposit crypto assets onto these platforms. Consumers are encouraged to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. California customers of crypto-interest account providers that have slowed or paused withdrawals or transfers of crypto assets are encouraged to contact the DFPI at Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677. To file a formal complaint, visit the DFPI File a Complaint Webpage.
Appointment of J. Elizabeth Smith as Deputy Commissioner of Communications
Governor Newsom announced on July 27 the appointment of J. Elizabeth Smith as Deputy Commissioner of Communications for the DFPI. She will officially join the Department on August 22 and will be based out of our San Francisco office.
Smith has been Communications Manager for the City of Santa Cruz since 2020. She held several positions at Code for America from 2018 to 2020, including Marketing Consultant and Head of Marketing. Smith was Associate Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications at San Francisco State University from 2016 to 2017. She was Chief Marketing Officer at Saint Mary’s College of California from 2008 to 2016. Smith was Director of Marketing Communications at the University of California, Davis from 2005 to 2008. She earned a Master of Science degree in integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Governor’s selection of Elizabeth fills an important position focused on increasing Californians’ awareness of DFPI through strategic communications that reaches consumers, licensees, and other stakeholders as we continue to implement the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL) and the Governor’s recent Executive Order on crypto assets. Her extensive professional experience in the public, private, and academic sectors will be invaluable as we raise awareness about the DFPI’s critical work to protect consumers and foster trust, innovation, and fairness in the financial marketplace.
Appointment of Jeanette Quick as Deputy Commissioner of Investor Protection
Governor Newsom announced on June 22 the appointment of Jeanette Quick as Deputy Commissioner of Investor Protection for the DFPI. Her official start date was July 25 and will be based out of our San Francisco Office.
Jeanette has been Head of Compliance and Public Policy and Head of Financial Services Legal at Gusto since 2019. She was Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee for Senator Tim Johnson from 2011 to 2015 and for Senator Sherrod Brown from 2015 to 2016. She was Head of Compliance and Deputy General Counsel at Scratch from 2017 to 2019. Jeanette was also served as Senior Attorney at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from 2007 to 2011. She is an Eisenhower Fellow, Truman National Security Project Political Partner, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs New Leader and Robert J. Myers Fellow, U.S.-Spain Council Young Leader, member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, and member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Jeanette is a member of the Board of Directors of Small Business Majority and Magic Theatre. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Jeanette will lead special projects related to investor protection, in coordination with multiple programs across DFPI. Her valuable experience in both the public and private sectors, including working with the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, gives her unique knowledge and insights into the emerging legal and policy issues in the financial services marketplace.
Career Opportunities with DFPI
The DFPI is California’s primary regulatory authority overseeing financial services, products, and professionals. Its mission includes protecting consumers from potential abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices.
If you are passionate about wanting to make a difference in protecting consumers from financial fraud, join our team! Find out more about available positions on the DFPI’s Careers Webpage.
Did you know?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Walmart in federal court over its practice of turning a blind eye to fraud. The complaint cites numerous cases in which scammers relied on Walmart money transfers as a primary way to receive payments for scams, such as IRS impersonation schemes, relative-in-need grandparent scams, sweepstakes scams, and others. From 2013 to 2018 more than $197 million in payments that were the subject of fraud complaints were sent or received at Walmart. To learn more, read FTC Says Walmart Allowed Fraud Involving Money Transfers.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has identified Google Voice scams as the number-one most common scam in 2022. How it works is that a scammer finds your phone number online, perhaps on a posting for an item for sale or a lost pet, and calls you, feigns interest, but then wants to verify that you aren’t a scammer. They tell you that you are about to get a verification code from Google Voice and ask you to read it back. This process allows them to set up a Google Voice account in your name, which they can use to perpetrate scams by pretending to be you and hiding their footprint from law enforcement. If you have fallen for this scam, you’ll find steps to reclaim your account at the Google Voice Help Center. To learn more, read 8 Red Hot Scams in 2022.
On July 16, the U.S. successfully transitioned to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) the easy-to-remember number to reach trained crisis counselors for help with suicide, mental health, and substance use-related crises. The transition was made possible with a recent $432 million investment (an 18-fold increase in funding) from the Biden-Harris Administration. Now, 988 serves as the universal entry point, so that no matter where you live in the U.S. you can easily access a trained crisis counselor for mental health support 24/7. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. For more information, visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Webpage.
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For more information about DFPI’s Education & Outreach programs, events calendar, and other consumer protection resources, visit the DFPI Education & Outreach Webpage.
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CLOTHILDE V. HEWLETT • Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation
The August 2022 Consumer Connection covers the month ending August 2022.
The Consumer Connection is available at no charge via e-mail.
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The DFPI encourages financial services consumers to submit complaints if they believe a DFPI licensee or registrant has violated state law or acted improperly, or they believe a company or person is conducting unlicensed or unregistered activity that falls within the DFPI’s jurisdiction. To file a complaint, visit our File a Complaint Webpage or contact us at Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov or toll-free at (866) 275-2677.