6-28-17 CEI Executive Director to resign

CEI Executive Director Cindy Matloff will retire on June 30th and announced that sadly the organization will be dissolved.  Marie Taylor and Cindy Matloff created CEI seven years ago. They were committed to educating consumers about their rights when buying goods and services, Internet Safety, and identity theft. Ms. Taylor designed the CEI website and Consumer Gals blog and Ms. Matloff went to work developing consumer literacy workshops for ESOL centers, HiSET programs, low income housing, Councils on Aging and community forums. She also teamed up with Marblehead Cable TV and created Cindy’s Corner, a monthly show highlighting the latest scams. For information on consumer issues contact the Federal Trade Commission.

3-27-17 CEI presents workshops on the North Shore

On March 27th an enthusiastic group of ESOL students at North Shore Community Action Program participated in CEI’s workshop, How to Be An Empowered Consumer. Students from the Dominican Republic, Albania, Haiti, Brazil and China learned about the latest scams, how to be safe when using the Internet along with tips to protect against identity theft. A packet of timely consumer resources was handed out to students and staff.  On April 7th CEI  was pleased to be invited to present How to Be An Empowered Car Buyer to North Shore Community College’s HiSET students. Since car complaints continue to top the list compiled by the Office of Consumer Affairs and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, students  welcomed the opportunity to have their many questions answered. The program stressed the importance of doing your homework, how to inspect a car before making an offer, skills needed to complete the purchase and where to go for help when problems come up.

3-5-17 Consumers Empowered celebrates National Consumer Protection Week

On March 5th, Consumers Empowered joined with federal, state, and local agencies and national organizations to celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). This year’s focus was on identity theft as it continues to top the Federal Trade Commission’s list of complaints. This year copies of the Federal Trade Commission’s reference guide: Taking Charge – What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen were sent to HiSET, Adult Basic Education, and ESOL programs on the North Shore. Having your personal information stolen can destroy your finances and credit history.  For more information on identity theft contact the FTC.

1-19-17: Western Union Settles with FTC and US Department of Justice 

Western Union has agreed to offer $586 million dollars in refunds to consumers and create an antifraud program. According to the FTC, Western Union has known for years that scammers were using the service to commit massive fraud. The company received over 550,000 complaints about money transfers made for fake lottery schemes, family emergency calls, advance fee loans, online dating and more. Additionally Western Union failed to take effective action against fraud-induced money transfers. Under the settlement, the company will train and monitor its agents. All money transfers that are suspicious will be blocked. The FTC warns consumers to be aware of telemarketers who ask you to pay with a money transfer. It is illegal. Don’t wire the money. Issue a complaint with the FTC

12-15-16: CEI presents program on scams at Danvers Council on Aging

On December 15th seniors at the Danvers Council on Aging learned how to protect themselves against scams and deceptive business practices that target the elderly. The program highlighted popular telemarketing schemes, mail fraud, health scams and email phishing.  Seniors became aware of common tricks that scam artists often use and were given pointers to avoid becoming a victim. The program gave attendees the opportunity to share their experiences and ask questions.

11-17-16: CEI receives grant from AAA Northeast

Latest news –  Auto sales and auto repair continue to top the list of consumer complaints compiled by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Thanks to a grant donated by AAA Northeast, CEI looks forward to presenting How to Be An Empowered Car Buyer to English speakers of other languages and adult education students who are at risk for shady business practices and fraud. The interactive program focuses on making informed choices throughout the car buying experience and where to go for help when problems crop up.

10-20-16: CEI presents monthly series on Marblehead TV