AARP sponsors state consumer protection week

CHARLESTON -- AARP will lead the effort to protect West Virginia consumers from scams during West Virginia Consumer Protection Week Feb. 3-8. West Virginia Consumer Protection Week will highlight consumer education efforts in the fight against fraud, focusing on financial literacy. By gathering and sharing information, consumers -– and their friends and families –- can be more confident, savvy, and safe in the marketplace. Barbara Dieker, Director of the Office of Elder Rights for the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be participating in some of the Consumer Protection Week events. She is responsible for management of programs to ensure justice, rights and protections for our nation's seniors, including those authorized under Title VII of the Older Americans Act. Areas of program responsibility include the health care fraud prevention, identification and awareness activities of the Senior Medicare Patrol Program, Pension Counseling Programs, Legal Services for the Elderly, Elder Abuse Prevention Programs and the National Center on Elder Abuse, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, among others. The AARP Foundation's West Virginia Senior Medicare Patrol Project is funded in part by a grant from the Administration on Aging. West Virginia consumer protection week activities include: * Sunday, Feb. 3: The AARP Foundation is hosting "Consumer Protection Sunday" by offering free consumer protection information to religious organizations and places of worship. Places of worship can distribute educational materials with their bulletins at their services the weekend of Feb 1-3. The inserts are 8 ½ by 11, folding to 5 ½ by 8 ½, the size many churches use for their Sunday bulletins. The inserts are available as hard copies or electronically. To receive them, call the AARP Foundation at 1-800-799-4638 or email lbunn@aarp.org. Monday, Feb. 4: AARP West Virginia will release the results of an AARP member survey at 10:30 a.m. in the McManus Room of the West Virginia State Capitol (located on the House end of the building near the Minority Leader's office). The announcement will highlight an issue that is of extreme importance to AARP's 317,000 West Virginia members. Tuesday, Feb. 5: Gov. Joe Manchin will issue a proclamation declaring Feb. 3-9 West Virginia Consumer Protection Week at an event at 2 p.m. All of West Virginia's constitutional officers have been invited to share information about how their agencies protect West Virginia consumers. Wednesday, Feb. 6: The AARP Foundation will celebrate the second Anniversary of its ElderWatch program with a legislative and volunteer breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Charleston Marriott Town Center. At 9 a.m., West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw will make an important announcement. From 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., AARP volunteers will conduct a "reverse boiler room" by calling consumers to warn them about fraud. The theme of the reverse boiler room is "Get Facts-inated! Immunize Yourself Against the Common Scam." Thursday, Feb. 6 and Friday, Feb. 7: The West Virginia Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection will offer free credit reports to consumers from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day at the Charleston Town Center Mall.

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