DCP, Federal Trade Commission Announce Partnership Encouraging Nonprofit Legal Service Organizations to Join FTC Community Advocate Center Initiative
FTC Program Helps Underserved Communities Report Fraud
June 17, 2021 — The Department of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission were joined Friday by state and local officials to announce a partnership to encourage Connecticut community legal aid organizations to join the Federal Trade Commission’s new Community Advocate Center initiative, which aims to prevent fraud targeting underserved communities.
By partnering with the State of Connecticut and community legal aid organizations, the FTC will greatly expand its reach and impact in Connecticut. This new initiative provides an important service to underserved communities in the state who are often targeted by fraud and scams but may not have the information or resources, or fear retaliation.
DCP and the FTC were joined by Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Attorney General William Tong, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Don Philips, pro bono attorney manager for Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut.
“We are proud to work with our federal partners at the FTC to stop scams targeting underserved communities in Connecticut,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Government works best when agencies at the federal, state and local level are able to work together to spread the word about important resources that benefit the public.”
“State partnerships are critical to the FTC’s ability to protect consumers,” said FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work together with Connecticut to make sure that we are hearing from and responding to all consumers, in every community through the Community Advocate Center.”
“This partnership sends a message that scammers will pay a price when they target underserved communities,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Some of these communities of color have been under-protected far too long. By acting as a critical resource to those who are preyed on by fraudsters, this coalition of legal aid, the Department of Consumer Protection, and the Federal Trade Commission will be a vital helping hand for consumer victims of fraud around Connecticut.”
“Our office is proud to join our state and federal partners to help prevent fraud in underserved communities. Sadly, scammers and bad actors often target vulnerable people who don’t always know where to go for help or resources when they are victims of fraud,” said Attorney General William Tong. “This new initiative will bring much needed outreach and resources to lower-income communities in Connecticut and the legal aid organizations that serve them.”
“The Federal Trade Commission's development of the Community Advocate Center initiative will help protect our most vulnerable populations in Connecticut from falling victim to fraud and scams,” said Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “We are so pleased that the State of Connecticut is partnering with the Federal Trade Commission on this important initiative. The people of our state will benefit greatly from being provided with resources to detect and to avoid scams and recuperate losses if they have fallen victim to fraud.”
“We welcome the Federal Trade Commission’s new focus on protecting lower income communities from scams and predatory business practices,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “We’re fortunate that our state government has long focused on consumer protection issues, and this new partnership with the federal government will provide even more tools to prevent our residents from losing their earnings – and help them get their money back if they do. I want to thank the Department of Consumer Protection and all of their partners for their continued leadership on this often overlooked but important issue.”
“Victims of consumer fraud who fall below 125 percent of the federal poverty level often face grim repercussions,” said Don Philips, pro bono attorney manager for Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut. “Loss of money due to fraud may result in the inability to pay bills or to purchase food or medicine. At Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc., our mission is to empower low-income Connecticut residents to obtain justice by providing tools to solve civil legal problems. The FTC Community Advocate Center initiative provides us a new and powerful tool to address consumer fraud issues, and we are pleased to have joined forces with this program as one of its Report Fraud Community Advocates.”
For more information about the Community Advocate Center and to how to participate, visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov/community.