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News from DCA - Current Press Releases

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS DECLARES DECEPTIVE OVERDRAFT ENROLLMENT TOP FRAUD OF THE YEAR
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today declared deceptive enrollment in so-called “courtesy overdraft” protection a top fraud of the year. Banks who continue to automatically enroll customers into such costly services without their permission after July 1, 2010 will be violating federal law. Fees for these services, which average $27 per $20 purchase, cost Americans more than $38 billion in fees in 2009 alone and were assessed without most customers’ knowledge or permission. DCA cautions consumers about the deceptive marketing tactics that banks may use in upcoming months to re-enroll them in these nontransparent practices and calls upon banks to offer real-time overdraft choices instead. In an effort to provide New Yorkers with a safe banking option and no overdraft fees, particularly the 825,000 without mainstream bank accounts, DCA has also created NYC SafeStart Bank Account, the City’s first banking product available to all New Yorkers.




Saturday, March 6, 2010
THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) OFFICE OF FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT (OFE) AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS (DCLA) HOST “THE ART OF MONEY: PERSONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS”
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) today hosts “The Art of Money: Personal Financial Resources for Artists.” This daylong event at Harlem’s Dwyer Cultural Center offers free financial counseling and workshops to artists and independent workers in all fields.




Tuesday, March 2, 2010
NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS ISSUES MORE THAN 2,000 VIOLATIONS IN CITYWIDE CRACKDOWN OF INCOME TAX PREPARERS
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that during a month-long investigation of income tax preparers throughout the City, DCA inspected nearly 800 tax preparation businesses and issued 2,010 charges for violations including illegally advertising refund anticipation loans (RALs) as “instant” or “rapid” refunds. Total fines from the enforcement sweep could reach more than $1 million.




Thursday, February 25, 2010
MORE THAN 825,000 ADULTS IN NEW YORK CITY DO NOT HAVE BANK OR CREDIT UNION ACCOUNTS ACCORDING TO NEW CITYWIDE STUDY
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that more than 825,000 adult New Yorkers do not have bank accounts, but instead use fringe financial services like check cashers to pay bills, cash payroll checks, buy money orders and conduct other financial transactions. To help New Yorkers transition from using high-cost fringe financial services, DCA has created NYC SafeStart Bank Account, the City’s first banking product available to all New Yorkers.




Thursday, February 18, 2010
NEIGHBORWORKS® AMERICA JOINS CITY OFFICIALS FOR LOCAL LAUNCH OF NATIONAL ‘LOAN MODIFICATION SCAM ALERT’ CAMPAIGN
NeighborWorks® America today launched the national “Loan Modification Scam Alert” campaign in New York City to provide City residents facing the possibility of foreclosure with vital information to guard against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to trusted authorities. NeighborWorks Chief Operating Officer Eileen Fitzgerald was joined for the announcement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, representatives from the Center for New York City Neighborhoods and other City officials.




Thursday, February 11, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER MINTZ ANNOUNCES CITY’S FIRST ONLINE FREE TAX PREPARATION SERVICE
As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 8th Annual Tax Credit Campaign spearheaded by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced the City’s first ever online free tax preparation service for City residents available by visiting nyc.gov/OnlineFreeTaxPrep. New Yorkers who earn $58,000 or less per tax return qualify to prepare and electronically file their tax returns for free. The service is powered by One Economy Corporation – a nonprofit that leverages the power of technology to empower people to enter the economic mainstream – with their online tax filing software The Beehive. In 2007, nearly 2.5 million New Yorkers paid to have their income tax returns prepared. The City estimates that more than 2.7 million New Yorkers may qualify for this free online tax preparation service.




Thursday, January 21, 2010
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ KICKS OFF TAX SEASON BY ANNOUNCING THE CITY’S FIRST EVER FREE ‘TAX REFUND SUPER SATURDAY’ EVENT
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced the City’s first ever free ‘Tax Refund Super Saturday’ event. ‘Tax Refund Super Saturday’ will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets) on Saturday, January 23 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., kicking off the City’s 8th Annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition Campaign. The Saturday event will offer free tax preparation for New Yorkers who have dependent children and earn less than $50,000, and City residents who have no children and earn less than $18,000. Tax preparers will check if City residents qualify for the EITC, the NYC Child Care Tax Credit and other tax credits that could put money back in their pockets. The average EITC refund alone is $2,700. Tax preparation will be provided by Beehive, Food Bank for New York City, Ariva and the National Association of Black Accountants. The event will also include free one-on-one financial fitness check-ups in English and Spanish, free group workshops on credit, homeownership and other important financial topics, provided by the Financial Planner’s Association, Phipps Community Development Corporation, Credit Where Credit is Due, The Financial Clinic and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.




Friday, January 15, 2010
STATEMENT OF NYC DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JONATHAN MINTZ ON REPORTS OF INTEREST IN DOWNGRADING THE PROPOSED CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AGENCY TO A NON-INDEPENDENT MISSION
“As the current financial crisis has proven, when consumer protection in the financial services marketplace is not the primary mission of a government agency, consumers are not protected. America’s need for an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency in which consumer protection is paramount is no less just because some in the Senate may have lost their zeal, as reported today.”



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