Washington, DC —The DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) joins with federal, state and local government agencies and consumer protection organizations to announce the 12th Annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 7-13. This coordinated consumer-education campaign encourages individuals across the country to take full advantage of their consumer rights. This year’s theme—Dollars & Sense: Rated “A” for All Ages—highlights the importance of using good consumer sense at every stage of life—from grade school to retirement. In recognition of NCPW 2010, DISB and its partners are promoting free resources to help people protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, understand credit and mortgages, and steer clear of frauds and scams. “The message of National Consumer Protection Week 2010 is simple: It’s never too early or too late to become a more informed and empowered consumer,” said DISB Commissioner Gennet Purcell. “Regardless of your age or financial situation, there are useful lessons to learn about spending and managing money wisely. DISB encourages everyone to visit the NCPW website for tips about making smarter decisions in the marketplace. ” This year, NCPW organizations are reaching out to kids, focusing on Web sites, videos and games designed for a younger audience. Kids under 12 spend billions of dollars on goods and services each year, so it makes sense to provide them with these valuable tools. It’s essential that kids understand key consumer and business concepts, like credit and identity theft, banking and fraud, and marketing and advertising. The resources highlighted on the NCPW Web site introduce these concepts and teach kids practical lessons about the role of business and government in their everyday lives. In addition, for the first time, the NCPW Web site features a blog, where visitors can discover new consumer resources in an informal and interactive environment. Here, visitors have the opportunity to connect directly with representatives of public and private consumer protection organizations. This year, DISB will introduce to the public its new Consumer Protection and Advocacy Market Report newsletter, which advises residents on preventing home foreclosures, avoiding financial scams, especially among the elderly and fraudulent drug plans. This market report is a result of the combined efforts of DISB staff who make up the recently created Consumer Protection and Advocacy Taskforce. The agency also plans to exhibit at the Dollars and Sense Expo on Saturday, March 6, from 10 am to 3 pm, at the Friendship Collegiate Academy, 4095 Minnesota Avenue, NE. And DISB’s Commissioner is available to discuss consumer protection issues to the media and to the general public. Also, residents can visit DISB’s office at 810 First Street, NE, Suite 701, to get a variety of tips on a range of topics, including how to get a free credit report, limited benefits of health insurance plans, insurance needs for families, how to file consumer complaints with the appropriate authorities, among others. National organizers of this year’s NCPW include AARP, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Federation of America, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Federal Citizen’s Information Center, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the National Consumers League, the US Department of the Treasury, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the US Postal Service.