National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) was first established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1998 to spread awareness and provide information to consumers to safeguard their interests. Twenty-four years later, the initiative has continued to grow with 113 government and nonprofit organizations partnering with the FTC to emphasize resources publicly available to assist consumers in identifying, avoiding and reporting business fraud, identity theft, cybercrimes and other scams. This year, NCPW will be recognized during the week of Mar. 6-12.
Since 1912, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has dedicated itself to establishing truth in advertising and advocating for an ethical marketplace. In pursuing its mission over the past century, BBB has developed and implemented numerous consumer resources available for free online or through various community events, such as Secure Your ID Day. Through these initiatives and programs, BBB can serve communities throughout North America, increasing awareness and knowledge of unethical practices and scams that negatively impact consumers' everyday lives.
BBB is proud to partner with the FTC to promote consumer resources publicly available during NCPW and throughout the rest of the year.
BBB Scam Tracker
Initially brought online in 2014, BBB Scam Tracker has proven to be an invaluable tool in recording and assessing ongoing instances of scams across the U.S. and beyond. Consumers can utilize the interactive map to zoom in on their community, providing immediate results of reported scams that directly impact themselves or their friends and family. Data obtained through reports to BBB Scam Tracker allows BBB to analyze trends and issue warnings or alerts based on reported scams occurring within an area. In 2021, more than 46,000 reports of scams or unethical business practices resulting in over $42 million in losses were reported to BBB from consumers using BBB Scam Tracker.
In addition to its capability to provide information at the community level, BBB Scam Tracker also allows consumers to search for specific keywords, dates or scam types occurring across the U.S. and Canada. All information provided is relayed to the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, which thoroughly analyzes the data and informs the public via free annual reports, such as the BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.
BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust
The mission of BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) is to educate and protect consumers, establish best practices for businesses and solve complex marketplace problems. To accomplish this mission, BBB Institute provides various programs tailored toward diverse communities and provides free resources to those communities to empower consumers and businesses to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Programs include the Military and Veterans Initiative, Business Ethics, BBB AdTruth and BBB Scam Tracker.
As the educational and research arm of Better Business Bureau, BBB Institute focuses its efforts on providing highly detailed and comprehensive reports of ongoing or particularly impactful scams affecting consumers across North America. A few examples of these reports include Cracking the Invulnerability Illusion, Employment Scams Report and Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims. BBB Institute promotes its findings to all BBB branches, ensuring local BBBs remain informed and updated on issues that may affect consumers and businesses that reside within their area. Reports are also published online and are free to download at BBBMarketplaceTrust.org.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Formed in 2001 through a merger of the National Charities Information Bureau and BBB’s Philanthropic Advisory Service, BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB’s Give.org) is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of public-soliciting charities. Charities that receive accreditation through Give.org are rigorously evaluated based on 20 standards addressing four areas of charity accountability: governance, results reporting, finances and truthful transparent communications. There are no fees associated with evaluation, and all reports are available freely on Give.org.
Often in the wake of natural disasters or catastrophes, con artists and scammers create fundraising initiatives disguised as a charity. Give.org provides a resource for consumers to verify the legitimacy of a charity before donating, as well as a breakdown of how efficiently an organization uses the funds provided. Analysis of evaluated charities and donations also informs Give.org’s annual reports, which can be downloaded for free, that focus on donor trust and the impact of charitable giving. Donors utilizing Give.org can feel confident that their donations are going to worthy organizations and assists in making wise giving decisions.
For more information about these and other consumer resources provided by Better Business Bureau, visit BBB.org.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico.