Consumer Protection Working Group to combat consumer fraud gets underway

The Consumer Protection Working Group is part of President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and last Friday they held their first meeting to address consumer fraud.

The newly created group will work across federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies and with state and local partners.

The goal is to stop devastating financial loss which cripple households and hurt the economy, according to a Department of Justice news release.

It will target consumer-related fraud including schemes targeting vulnerable populations such as the unemployed, those in need of payday loans, and those suffering from the burden of high credit card and other debt.

The new working group will also focus on scams that exploit prospective students, active-duty military personnel and veterans.

The Consumer Protection Working Group will address several areas of concern including payday lending and other high-pressure telemarketing or Internet scams, business opportunity schemes, for-profit schools that engage in fraud or misrepresentation, and fraudulent third party payment processors that facilitate payments on behalf of other fraudsters without the permission of the customer, according to the release.

The Consumer Protection Working Group is part of ongoing enforcement efforts by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to crack down on financial crimes.

The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement.

Since its formation, the task force has increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhanced coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressed discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducted outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations.

Task force members have charged a record number of mortgage fraud cases in the past two years, trained more than 100,000 professionals responsible for awarding and overseeing Recovery Act funds and held regional summits around the country to discuss strategies, resources and initiatives.

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