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Consumer News Release

For immediate release

National Consumer Protection Week Credit Issues Affecting You

National Consumer Protection Week is January 31 - February 6. The topic is credit fraud and credit choices, and the theme is Know the Rules, Use the Tools. Attached are five Consumer Advisories on important credit topics, and we hope you will find them helpful. Please feel free to contact us if we can provide more information: consumer@max.state.ia.us

National Consumer Protection Week is sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, the National Consumer League, National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the Consumer Federation of America and the U.S. Postal Service.

Our Consumer Advisories cover five topics: Advance Fee Loans, Home Equity Loans, Payday Loans, Rent-to-Own Purchases, and Identity Theft.

Identity theft is a credit problem that can strike anyone. The other four advisories describe situations that are especially troublesome to vulnerable citizens who may have few choices or think they have few -- persons of low income, some older Iowans, and persons with gambling problems, for example.

The increased access to capital Americans enjoy underscores the importance of understanding consumer credit and the potential for credit fraud. In 1975, America's total household debt was 24% of its total household income. Twenty years later, it was 104%! Access to credit is an important part of today's society, but debt and credit problems are on a sharp rise, too. Too much debt, debt that's too expensive, or too little understanding of what debt really costs makes people vulnerable to "scams" or programs that will only cause more problems for them. That's a downward spiral we hope to prevent.

Again, please contact us if we can provide more information: consumer@max.state.ia.us