WASHINGTON (3/8/10)--This week marks the 12th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), which ends Saturday and is presented by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its partners. This year’s theme--Dollars & Sense: Rated “A” for All Ages--stresses the importance of using smart consumer sense at every stage of life, from grade school to retirement (FTC website March 2). “This year we wanted to emphasize that kids are consumers and that they will be consumers in the future,” said Nicole Vincent, consumer education specialist in the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the FTC. “It’s never too early or too late to become a more informed consumer. “We’ve highlighted resources that are fun and creative in hopes of grabbing the attention of younger consumers,” Vincent said. For the first time, the NCPW website features a blog where visitors can find resources and read stories about consumer protection. The blog allows visitors to connect directly with representatives of public and private consumer protection agencies, and highlights available resources and fraud and scam alerts. “Scammers read headlines,” Vincent said. For instance, the earthquake in Haiti has brought a lot of public attention, but unfortunately also spawns scammers trying to swindle folks out of money. “We want to say ‘Yes, of course try to help, but be careful about which organization you’re giving to,’ ” Vincent added. The blog shows how to choose a legitimate charity. Credit unions, libraries, schools, colleges, city halls, and senior centers across the U.S. are participating in NCPW. Check out the event page on the NCPW website to find consumer protection fairs, shredathons or workshops in your area. To learn more about scams and how to prevent fraud, visit the “Consumer Protection” section of the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.