Financial Protection

Through our Financial Protection Program (FPP), we focus on safeguarding consumer protections and issues that impact consumers’ wallets and quality of life, including identity theft, home foreclosure and predatory lending.

With a grassroots-centered approach to outreach and education, we assist consumers with their financial literacy by teaching the importance of bank accounts and credit ratings, effective ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud, proactive approaches to financial management, and avoidance of predatory lending practices that ensnare consumers with promises of easy money or debt elimination but often result in hefty fees and additional debt.

Georgia Watch’s FPP provides low-wealth individuals and communities the tools they need to attain and improve financial literacy.

Georgia Watch works to educate and empower consumers by:

  • Providing tailored workshops designed to encourage proactive approaches to financial management, debt elimination, managing bank accounts and credit ratings, and avoiding predatory lending products, such as payday and title pawn loans.
  • Conducting in-depth research on priority issues related to consumer finances.
  • Training intermediaries and advocates on how to assist clients with identifying, preventing and reporting identity theft, scams and fraud.
  • Providing commentary on proposed legislation at the federal and state level that has the potential to impact consumer protections around financial services or products.

Credit ReportingEach year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) releases a list of consumer reporting companies. This list includes the three nationwide consumer reporting companies as well as other smaller companies that focus on certain market areas and consumer segments. The list provides tips to help determine which company may be important to you.CFPB 2018 List of Consumer Reporting Companies
Identity TheftA brief guide about how to protect yourself from identity theft.Avoiding Identity Theft
Identity TheftSome tips about how to protect your personal and financial information in light of the Equifax breach.What You Need to Know About Equifax Breach
Military Consumer ProtectionFree app designed to help Georgia-based servicemembers, veterans and their families be more informed consumers.Basic Training App
Tax PreparationLearn about free tax preparation assistance,  as well as how to avoid the unnecessary expense of paid preparers, keep more of your tax refunds, and choose your tax preparer wisely.Preparing for Tax Season
Military Consumer ProtectionA set of infographics offering useful tips about how to protect yourself in the marketplace.Military Consumer Protection Tips
Military Consumer ProtectionA guide containing pertinent information regarding key consumer issues as well as state and federal legal protections for military personnel in the marketplace.Georgia Military Consumer Protection Guide
CréditoTambién conocido como un bloqueo de seguridad, esta herramienta le permite restringir el acceso a su informe de crédito.Congelar su Crédito: Preguntas Frecuentes
Consejos para Evitar las Estafas para Los americanos de mayorLos americanos de mayor edad son uno de los grupos más grandes sujetos a fraudes. Las personas de la tercera edad generalmente tienen buen crédito y un patrimonio que los ladrones intentan robar. Los estafadores cuentan con que las personas mayores son demasiado respetuosas para hacer preguntas especificas o decir que “no”. Consejos para Evitar las Estafas (Spanish)
Payday LendingGeorgia consumers have been spared the crippling cost of paying tripledigit interest on payday loans. Georgia has saved its families over $350 million in hard earned income since banning payday lenders in 2004. Payday Lending Report
Credit FreezeCredit freeze, which severely limits access to an individual’s credit file, is the single most effective tool to fight new account fraud, a devastating form of identity theft which occurs when a thief opens a line of credit in a victim’s name.Credit Freeze Report
ForeclosurePart II of a Financial Protection Program report outlining policy reform to curb reckless lending in the State of Georgia.Georgia Foreclosure Crisis Report: Part II
ForeclosurePart I of a Financial Protection Program report outlining the rippling effects of reckless lending in Georgia.Georgia Foreclosure Crisis Report: Part I
Debt SettlementDebt settlement companies target financially distressed people and offer to negotiate with creditors on their behalf in an attempt to reach a lump sum settlement for less than the full amount owed. BUT, the practice exposes consumers to substantial financial risks. What is Debt Settlement?
Senior ScamsTips for avoiding and reporting incidents of identity theft and scams, specifically for older adults.Avoiding Senior Scams & ID Theft
CreditWhat is a credit freeze? Find out how freezing your credit can protect your assets, and the credit of those you love.Credit Freeze FAQs


New bank law spurs both support and criticism in Georgia

By Michael E. Kanell - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Some Georgia bankers joined U.S. Sen. David Perdue in praising this week’s rollback of the Dodd-Frank law’s restrictions on banks, although consumer groups criticized the measure. The new banking law, signed by President Trump…

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Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering

[caption id="attachment_10708" align="aligncenter" width="694"] Image courtesy of the AJC.[/caption] By Shelia M. Poole and Michael E. Kanell - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution As the door to his home opens, Tony Caldwell, 58, shifts his wheelchair slightly to accommodate his guests. The…

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