Washington, DC—The Bowser Administration, through the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), is helping District residents and small businesses protect their money and make well-informed financial decisions in observance of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) March 1 to 7. Throughout the week, DISB is hosting a series of events and issuing consumer alerts on a variety of financial empowerment topics.
“When residents are better informed about their finances, they are able to make better decisions and prosper, which aligns with Mayor Bowser’s vision of inclusive prosperity and equality,” said DISB Acting Commissioner Karima Woods. “Enforcing consumer protection regulations and helping residents avoid financial scams are directly connected to financial resilience and empowerment.”
NCPW is an annual campaign that raises awareness of consumer-driven programs and services. NCPW is sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission and is supported by federal, state and local governments and other organizations dedicated to consumer protection. Following are highlights of NCPW activities in the District:
- DISB’s Consumer Protection Advocate will share information on financial education topics at several community centers.
- DISB’s Student Loan Ombudsman will meet with families and prospective students to identify alternate sources of funding for college and help minimize student loan debt.
- DISB will continue to encourage eligible District residents to use free tax preparation services, take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and electronically file taxes, which can provide residents with a refund in as little as two weeks—and even shorter if the funds are automatically deposited in a bank account.
- DISB will highlight programs such as Bank on DC, which partners with several banks and credit unions to offer accounts with low minimum balance requirements, and no or low-cost monthly fees.
- With over 3.2 million reports of scams and frauds to the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, DISB will encourage scam victims to report fraud. In 2019, federal enforcement actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to people who lost money to scams and fraud.
- Free tax preparation services: communitytaxaiddc.org/free-tax-assistance/locations-2/ or caab.org/en/news/free-tax-preparation-sites-in-washington-dc.
- File a complaint or report fraud: disb.dc.gov/service/file-complaint-or-report-fraud or ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc.
- Bank accounts with low minimum balance requirements and no or low-cost monthly fees: bankondc.org.
- Student Loan Ombudsman services: disb.dc.gov/studentloanhelp.
- Personalized financial education tools and resources: welcome.financiallyfitdc.com.
To get tips directly, visit disb.dc.gov, follow us on Twitter @DCDISB or like us on Facebook.
Our mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents; and (3) support the development and expansion of business.