Delivering Trust, Delivering Protection

Mar 07, 2011, 09:56 ET from U.S. Postal Service

U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Support National Consumer Protection Week, March 6-12

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are joining other federal, state and local government agencies and consumer protection organizations to kick off the 13th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 6-12.

This year's theme — Your Information Destination:! — highlights a wealth of tips and information from federal and state government and non-profit partner organizations on how consumers can protect their privacy, stay safe online, manage their money, avoid identity theft, understand mortgages and steer clear of frauds and scams.

"The more educated consumers can become, the less likely they will fall victim to identity theft and other scams," said Delores Killette, Postal Service Consumer Advocate. "As in the past, the Postal Service is proud to play a key role in helping consumers stay informed."

In recognition of NCPW 2011, the Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service are calling attention to free resources to help people protect their privacy and avoid identity theft and other fraud schemes. Consumers can visit for free fraud education and prevention videos about identity theft, work-at-home scams, Internet fraud, foreign lotteries, investment scams and more. Viewers can follow the Chief Postal Inspector and Postal Service Consumer Advocate as they walk through the top ten scams to watch for. The website also offers tips on recognizing scams and instructions on reporting scammers to the appropriate authorities.

In addition, the Postal Inspection Service offers the following tips for consumers to avoid becoming victims of fraud:

  • Know the warning signs: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for offers that apply pressure to act "right away," guarantee success, promise unusually high returns, require an upfront investment, don't have the look of a real business or just don't feel right.
  • Know the facts: Banks will never e-mail or call for account numbers. There are no legitimate jobs that involve re-shipping items or financial instruments from home. Foreign lotteries are illegal in the United States. If in doubt, check the company out with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Play it safe: Never click on a link inside an e-mail to visit a website; instead, type the address in a Web browser. Retain receipts, statements and packing slips, and review them for accuracy. Place outgoing mail in the secure blue collection boxes, or deposit it in collection slots on the inside of a local Post Office. Shred confidential documents instead of simply discarding them in the trash.
  • Get involved: Point out "too good to be true" offers to kids and teach them to be skeptical. Take an active interest in the financial activities of aging parents, especially if they're facing an illness that could make them more vulnerable. Share information about scams with friends and family.

"In 2010, we launched to help educate the public about the dangers of fraud," said Guy Cottrell, Chief Postal Inspector. "This year we've prepared newspaper, radio and online advertisements that are attention-getting and point customers to the website, where they can learn more about avoiding scams and con artists. The Postal Inspection Service has several crime prevention initiatives and public education campaigns. These efforts help to ensure the public's trust in the U.S. Mail."

This week across the country, participating Post Offices will host NCPW events to raise awareness of the most common fraudulent activities and what consumers can do to protect themselves. The Postal Service and the Postal Inspection Service are shining a spotlight on issues and ideas to help U.S. residents become better consumers.

Other national organizers of this year's NCPW include AARP, Better Business Bureau, Consumer Federation of America, Federal Citizen Information Center, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve System, Federal Trade Commission, Internal Revenue Service, League of Latin American Citizens, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, National Association of Attorneys General, National Consumers League, National Council of La Raza, National Futures Association, National Urban League, NeighborWorks America, North American Securities Administrators Association, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For more information about NCPW, visit

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government,, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 29th in the 2010 Fortune 500. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency six consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement, security and crime prevention arm of the United States Postal Service that protects the U.S. Postal Service, secures the nation's mail system and ensures public trust in the mail.  To learn more, visit

SOURCE U.S. Postal Service