Some sweet tips for a new diet in 2014 – National Consumers League

kelseyThe new year almost inevitably brings dieting difficulties for many of us, but many people realize that a diet isn’t always the best approach to losing weight and keeping it off. Changing your eating and exercise habits can have lifelong effects on your health, but doing so is more easily said than done. It can be a struggle, especially at the end of the day when you feel like you have eaten so healthfully and you just need a little something sweet.

It’s important to remember at these times that small indulgences are necessary for a balanced diet—so you don’t find yourself binging after too much deprivation.

Try getting your sweet fix in with some of these healthier options:

Banana and peanut butter: A great option because of the decadent texture. Make sure to not go overboard with this because it still has a lot of sugar in it but it also has a lot of redeeming nutrients like protein and potassium.

Greek yogurt and frozen berries: A fast and easy dessert, frozen berries are easier to keep on hand for when you need something sweet, and the Greek yogurt is a super food with plenty of lean protein.

Pomegranate seeds and dark chocolate: The pomegranate seeds are a challenge to separate from the rest of the fruit but it can be fun and satisfying to take your time eating them. A little bit of dark chocolate balances the pomegranate seeds out and provides antioxidants.

Apples and honey: Another traditional sweet snack, honey has antibacterial properties and you know what they say about having an apple a day.

Popcorn: Popcorn can be a slippery slope with outrageous amounts of sodium and fat when things go awry. However, I maintain that this can be a healthy, whole grain snack when it’s done right. Buying the kernels loose instead of pre-bagged allows you to make it yourself on the stove, giving you total control about the amount of butter, salt and flavors you add (no more fake butter!). If you want savory, go ahead and add Old Bay or other spices or seasoning (just watch the salt); if you’re looking for sweet, add sugar to the pot you’ll be popping it in for some homemade kettle corn.

Chocolate milk: Typically chocolate milk evokes memories of childhood, but it can actually be a satisfying dessert. It’s especially good as a post-workout snack, with the necessary sugars and protein that your body needs for recovery.

Wine: A great standby, wine can be the perfect dessert to wind down before bed as long as you don’t go overboard (no more than one glass). It might even lower your blood pressure and provide you with excellent antioxidants. Be careful though, alcohol can be known to stimulate appetites. If this describes you, it might be prudent to opt for a different dessert.

Tea or hot cocoa: Tea can be an excellent antioxidant filled option with virtually no calories (unless of course you take sugar and cream in your tea). If you are looking for something sweet, hot cocoa might fit the bill. It doesn’t have many nutritionally redeeming qualities, especially if you are making it with water not milk, but calorie-wise you aren’t doing much damage, and sometimes you just need something sweet.

So with these new tools to curb your nightly sweets craving, go forth and embrace the new year, knowing that a more healthful lifestyle isn’t out of reach.

This holiday season, a present for DC’s workers: Part 2 – National Consumers League

Second in a two-part series examining the new worker protection bills just passed by DC City Council.

Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 (bill text) — extends protections to 20,000+ new workers and boosts enforcement to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of workers already covered are actually able to get the leave they earn under the law.

The bill as a whole will go into effect once funds for implementation are included in DC’s spring 2014 budget.

Covering Tipped Restaurant Workers

First and foremost, the bill extends paid sick days to tipped restaurant workers, who were carved out by an amendment when the original Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act passed in 2008. The bill guarantees that these workers will receive their normal base wage or the full minimum wage (currently $8.25) for each hour of leave they use, whichever is higher. They will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, up to five days per year.

No More Year of Waiting for Leave

Current law allows employers to wait a whole year before letting their employees accrue even a single sick day. The bill would guarantee that workers in all industries can start earning sick days from their first day on the job and could start using them after 90 days and would close a loophole where workers could be fired and then rehired in order to cancel their accrued leave. Especially in high turnover industries like child-care, cleaning, security, construction, and restaurants, these changes are huge victories.

Real Enforcement Mechanisms

The bill includes some of the best enforcement mechanisms in the country for any paid leave bill. Employees who are denied paid sick days will get to choose between filing an administrative claim with the DC Office of Wage-Hour or suing in court. Either way, in addition to any lost pay for the days they took off, they would be owed $500 in damages for each day they were forced to work instead of taking leave they had earned, interest for pay owed, reinstatement if they were fired or demoted for taking leave, and attorneys fees and court costs to help enable them to bring a claim.

Workers will have three years to file a claim and longer if their employer failed to post the required notice of paid sick leave rights. Businesses will be required to keep records of hours worked and leave accrued for at least that long and, if they fail to keep required records, employees’ testimony about the failure to be paid leave will be presumed true. The District government will also be able to assess enforcement costs and $1000 or higher civil penalties for violations as well as suspend business licenses until the violations are cured.

To encourage employees to come forward and speak out about violations, the bill includes strong retaliation protections not only when workers file official complaints, but also when they advocate for their rights directly to their supervisor, share information during an investigation, or share information about the right to sick leave with their co-workers.

Public Education

Finally, the bill provides for a public education campaign to ensure workers and employers know about the new law and how to comply with it.

This holiday season, a present for DC’s workers: Part 1 – National Consumers League

By Michell K. McIntyre, Outreach Director, Labor and Worker Rights

First in a two-part series examining the new worker protection bills just passed by DC City Council. Congratulations to all DC workers and to the advocates who helped push the Washington, DC City Council to unanimously pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 and the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 on Tuesday, December 17th without allowing the bills to be weakened by industry-sponsored amendments. 

Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 (click here for bill text) The bill increases the minimum wage, which is currently $8.25, to $11.50 in three steps:

  • $9.50 on July 1, 2014
  • $10.50 on July 1, 2015
  • $11.50 on July 1, 2016

Just as importantly, starting on July 1, 2017 and every July 1 thereafter, the bill requires that the minimum wage be increased to reflect changes in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index in the Washington, DC area. This will stop the real value of the minimum wage from declining over time, which is a big reason why there are numerous fights to raise it. This is a huge win for workers, and an issue that has received tremendous public attention—and support—in recent months. Hooray for this minimum wage victory! What About Tipped Workers? Although the bill does not raise the base minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers (which stands at a miserable $2.77 an hour and hopefully will be raised with other legislation), it does require that employers of tipped workers verify and certify every quarter that all of their employees do end up making at least the full minimum wage through a combination of their base wages and tips actually received. This will hopefully reduce one form of wage theft, which is common in the restaurant industry, where employees are not compensated when their tips are short for the week and don’t make up the difference between $2.77 and the full minimum wage.

Cleaning up antibacterial soap – National Consumers League

92_ayannaBy Ayanna Johnson, Health Policy Associate Last week, FDA released a proposed ruling to require additional evidence that antibacterial soap is more effective at preventing illness or infection, than washing with plain soap and water. Consumers use antibacterial products daily in soaps, body washes, and other health care products.  FDA wants to ensure that with long-term exposure to the chemicals in antibacterial soap the benefits outweigh the risks.

New data suggests that certain ingredients in antibacterial soap, like triclosan, might contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics or have hormonal effects that are concerning to FDA. Bacterial resistance is a serious problem that impacts everyone. If certain bacteria become resistant to the medicines we use to treat them, public health and safety can be threatened. This all is a bit concerning since we use antibacterial or antimicrobial products frequently.

Working with the Environmental Protection Agency, FDA is requesting that manufacturers provide additional evidence from studies demonstrating the effects and risks of these products.  This proposed ruling only impacts consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water; it does not affect hand sanitizers, hand wipes or antibacterial soap used in hospitals or other health care settings.

During this cold and flu season, it is important to wash your hands to keep you and your family safe from germs and illness. And plain soap and water works just fine. Remember when washing your hands to rub them together with soap and water for at least 10-15 seconds and rinse. If you don’t have soap or water around, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Here are some other commonly asked questions about antibacterial soap. As always if you have questions you should first talk to your health care provider. How do I know if my soap is “antibacterial?” If you are wondering if a product you use is antibacterial, check the drug facts label or the ingredients. Antibacterial soaps contain special chemicals used to prevent bacterial contamination, like triclosan. Triclosan is the chemical under question by the FDA. What is bacterial resistance? Doctors have noticed that some bacteria are getting tougher to kill. The usual antibiotic drugs don’t seem to work as well – or work at all. Such bacteria are said to be resistant.

Bacterial resistance makes an infection much harder to treat. Higher doses or stronger drugs may be required. In extreme cases, bacterial resistance can be fatal. Need More information. Visit the FDA And don’t forget, your health is in your CLEAN hands!

Shoppers deserve trust and security from our biggest retailers – National Consumers League

By John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud Imagine that you’re the CEO of Target today. As one of the 25 most admired companies in the world, consumers’ trust in your brand is paramount to your success. Over the past week you’ve learned that your company is the victim of one of the largest retail data breaches in U.S. history. Cyber thieves compromised 40 million consumers’ credit and debit cards. To add insult to injury, the breach happened during the height of the holiday shopping season – the most important month in your company’s calendar.

With every media story about the incident, each outraged consumer Facebook comment and critical tweet, that trust is eroded. It’s clear that Target is facing a public relations nightmare. How they react to this will determine how much faith consumers will continue to place in the brand. Unfortunately, the advice consumers are getting from the company so far is depressingly familiar: monitor your credit and debit card statements, keep an eye on your credit report and report irregularities promptly. This is the advice consumers hear after virtually every data breach. Are the increasing number of data breaches just something that consumers need to get used to?

In a recent article about the Target breach Mark Rasch, a former U.S. prosecutor of cybercrime said, “Most of these attacks are just a cost of doing business,” As advocates for consumers, we categorically reject the notion that the status quo is an acceptable outcome. We must not accept a marketplace where consumers are asked to make ever more data available to more entities but are stuck with the consequences when those entities fail to protect our data. We think that the government and private sector can and should do more to protect the vast amounts of sensitive data that they are collecting from consumers. This is not a new issue.

For decades, data security experts have discussed ideas about how to improve the situation. At its core, consumer and business data is the focus of a never-ending arms race between those that want to protect consumer data and those that want to steal it for fraudulent uses. Just as no bank can ever be 100% secure from a robbery, no data can ever be 100% secure from a breach. However, consumers should be able to rely on a certain basic level of data security. Unfortunately, that is exactly what we lack today. Shockingly, there is no one law in the U.S. that mandates the steps businesses should take to protect their customers’ data. Instead, consumers are reliant on precedents set by Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions.

Since 2000, the FTC – under it’s “unfair and deceptive acts or practices” authority — has brought nearly fifty data security cases against companies whose data security practices (or lack thereof) have put consumers at risk. However, that authority could be taken away if the FTC loses in two closely watched court cases. Should the FTC lose, consumers will be left without one of the most important watchdogs in this fight. Consumers should not be left to fend for themselves against the legions of sophisticated and organized data thieves. The Target breach, and the daily smaller breaches that go unreported should serve as a wake-up call for legislators and regulators that data security reform is urgently needed.

Flu vaccine misconceptions putting everyone at risk – National Consumers League

According to federal health agency recommendations, nearly everyone over 6 months of age should get vaccinated for the flu. Unfortunately, many Americans are woefully misinformed about vaccines and choose not to take this simple step that could bolster their health. According to the CDC, between five percent and 20 percent of Americans get the flu every year, and an average of 200,000 are hospitalized annually from flu-related symptoms.

Many of those sicknesses and hospitalizations could be avoided if more people got vaccinated.

A recent survey commissioned by NCL uncovered some disturbing numbers about how few Americans get the flu vaccine and the reasons why they choose not to vaccinate. Some of the most notable findings.

  • One in five Americans say they have not received the flu vaccine because they do not believe the flu is a serious illness. The flu is a serious illness and results in deaths every year. While adults over 65, children under two, and people with serious medical conditions have the highest risk of suffering additional complications after getting the flu everyone can succumb to flu-related symptoms that result in hospitalization or death. From 2004-2008, 830 children died from flu-related complications, 43 percent of those children had no high-risk medical condition.
  • One in five parents do not get vaccinated because they fear the vaccine can give them the flu. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine CANNOT give you the flu. Medical professionals universally agree that the flu vaccination is safe and the best chance Americans have to avoid contracting the virus. The most likely side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was administered.
  • Of the Americans who do not get vaccinated, 45 percent cited their good health as a rationale for bypassing vaccination. Prior to 2010 the CDC recommended only young children, seniors, and people with serious medical conditions get vaccinated. In 2010, however, CDC changed their guidelines and now recommends that everyone, including Americans age 18-49 that are healthy, receive the vaccine annually.
  • Only 44 percent of parents say their children have been vaccinated. This number is too low. The NCL survey revealed that among parents, the flu ranks second only to meningitis as the disease parents are most worried their child may contract. Recently, New York City announced a new provision requiring children who attend preschool or day care to be vaccinated to avoid spreading the disease to others in close proximity.

This winter season, NCL urges you to get the flu vaccination. If you are unsure how to get vaccinated, call your health care provider’s office. To find out more information about the flu, visit CDC’s Web site. Click here to see the full results of NCL’s survey revealing American’s misconceptions of the flu vaccine. Here’s to a healthful winter season!

A push to cleanse America’s meat – National Consumers League

kelsey By Kelsey Albright, Linda Golodner Food Safety & Nutrition Fellow A week ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a ruling making clear its intent to reduce the amount of antibiotics in animal feed.  It is the first push in the Obama administration’s three-year strategy of reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics, especially for growth promotion, in livestock and poultry.

The largest motivation for this proposal is to reduce the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections which kill thousands of Americans each year. FDA’s announcement included a final guidance which asks veterinary drug companies to voluntarily remove growth promoting claims from antibiotics that are most important in human medicine.  The other part of the announcement detailed the proposed rule that would require prescriptions from veterinarians for antibiotics currently sold over the counter and added to animal’s food and water.

Two of the largest veterinary drug companies, Zoetis and Elanco, have openly supported the proposed rule and either already comply or are planning to comply with the guidance recommending the removal of growth-promotion claims from labels.  However, many antibiotic activists are saying both the rule and the guidance are too weak to initiate real change. Despite harsh criticisms from politicians and invested organizations, I feel that FDA should be applauded for its efforts.  While these actions may not be as extreme as I, or any of my fellow nutrition advocates, would have liked, it is a step in the right direction on FDA’s behalf.  Progress doesn’t happen in one day, it takes time, it is a clock with ever moving interconnected gears that never stops ticking.  This rule is now one of those gears and I am glad to see if fall into rotation, hopefully opening more doors for stricter antibiotics regulation in the future.

NCL commends the DC City Council for its vote in favor of workers’ rights – National Consumers League

December 17, 2013

Contact: NCL Communications, Ben Klein, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC—Today, the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, applauds the DC City Council for two unanimous votes that will boost workers’ pay and expand paid sick days to tipped workers.

“This is a great step, very welcome, and long overdue,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “We’re hopeful that Mayor Gray will sign the bills into law and better the lives of workers across Washington, DC. NCL thanks every member of the DC City Council for standing up for those on the lowest rung of the income ladder. You each have shown strength and resolve to do the right thing in the face of industry opposition. The DC Council has set an exemplary standard for city and state legislators around the nation.”

The two approved measures will expand the city’s 2008 law on paid sick leave to include workers whose incomes rely on tips and increase the minimum wage in the District for all other workers from $8.25 to $11.50 per hour over a three-year period.

“Consumers have spoken very clearly in overwhelming support of tipped workers who serve them at dining establishments, for improving their wages, and providing them with paid sick leave,” Greenberg said. “It’s not just a matter of compassion; it’s a matter of public health and food safety. If the proposals are ultimately signed into law,thousands of tipped workers will have the freedom to stay home to recover when they are sick, instead of coming to work and potentially infecting coworkers and customers. This is especially critical now that cold and flu season is upon us.”

According to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the gap between high-income and low-income households in the District is the third-highest among the 50 largest cities, after Atlanta and Boston. The $3.25 increase in the minimum wage, which will raise the minimum wage to $11.50, will help lift some 51,000 workers, who now struggle to make ends meet, out of poverty.

The typical minimum-wage worker is 34 years old, supports a family, and works full time. The new wage floor would mean a full-time salary of $23,920 a year, which will lift a family of three to just above the poverty level. “This is still not enough money to cover basic expenses, but it is a vast improvement of the current minimum wage,” said Michell McIntyre, NCL’s Outreach Director, Labor & Worker Rights.

Although the new minimum wage bill does not raise the tipped minimum wage (currently $2.77 an hour), Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced a measure that would make the tipped minimum wage the same as the standard minimum wage.

“We look forward to seeing both bills signed into law and working with Councilmember Cheh on a tipped minimum wage bill,” said Greenberg.

These two bills now head to Mayor Vincent Gray’s desk. He can sign the bills into law, veto the bills, which would send them back to the City Council for a councilmember vote to override the veto, or he can choose to take no action and after a set amount of time the bills will become law. 


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Study: U.S. parents’ flu vaccine misconceptions concerning advocates – National Consumers League

December 17, 2013

Contact: NCL Communications, Ben Klein, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC—According to a new survey released (report PDF) by the National Consumers League (NCL), fears and misperceptions about flu vaccines persist among Americans—adults and parents of children under the age of 17 alike. With flu season underway and the start of winter upon us, consumer advocates are concerned that misinformation about side effects and ineffectiveness of vaccines may be contributing to a failure to have children vaccinated.

In recent years, the science has evolved on the importance of getting vaccinated for the flu. It used to be the case that medical experts recommended flu shots only for the most vulnerable groups; but because healthy people benefit from the vaccine as well, medical experts now recommend that nearly everyone get the flu shot.

“Getting the flu can be serious, especially to children under 5 and other high risk groups,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “In our survey, however, we found the majority of parents of a child in this age group have not had them vaccinated with the flu vaccine” Despite an obvious desire to avoid coming down with the flu, consumers are unlikely to receive a flu vaccine because of their perceived good health, and the assumed side effects and ineffectiveness of the vaccine. “For parents, there is a disconnect between fear of their child contracting the flu and a failure to get the recommended vaccines to prevent its spread,” said Greenberg.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 1,756 U.S. adult Americans, of whom 993 are parents of children under 18, in August – September 2013.

The survey findings are a reminder that we need continuing consumer and patient education on the importance of both adults and children receiving a flu shot annually. The American College of Physicians, for example, strongly advises Americans to receive the vaccines endorsed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which includes an annual flu shot.

“A new version of the flu vaccine is prepared annually to best match the strains of flu virus currently circulating; while the effectiveness of the vaccine is better some years than others, getting vaccinated always results in better protection than not getting vaccinated,” said Molly Cooke, MD, FACP, President of the American College of Physicians.  “The flu vaccine does not cause flu in vaccine recipients.  It is understandable that some people regard being in good health as a reason to skip vaccination. This is because we used to reserve flu vaccination for elderly people and those with serious chronic illnesses. However, it is now clear that healthy people benefit as well. In addition, the more of us who are vaccinated, the better our families and communities are protected.”

The CDC recommends that all individuals over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccine each year. It is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu, including children under 5, pregnant women and those with medical conditions like asthma and diabetes.  The bottom line is that healthy or not, everyone should be vaccinated against the flu.

“Despite consensus among health agencies and health care professionals that vaccines are good for individuals and communities, vaccinations have, in recent years, appeared to have developed a negative stigma, and this is preventing some of us from doing our part in disease prevention,” said Rebecca Burkholder, NCL Vice President for Health Policy. “This flu season, many consumers will fail to get vaccinated. Misconceptions about how vaccines work are putting  all of us at risk.”

Highlights from the survey

Men vs. Women: Perceptions of how ‘severe’ the flu is

Over a third of adults rate the flu as very severe.  Women are more likely to rate the flu as severe than men.

  • Thirty-six percent (36%) of adults rated the flu as an 8, 9, or 10 on a scale from 1 to 10 where 0 means “not at all severe” and 10 means “extremely severe.”
  • Women are more likely than men to rate the flu as an 8, 9, or 10 for severity (43% vs. 28%).

Adults aren’t current on vaccinations

While nearly three-quarters of adults (74%) say they have received the flu vaccine, nearly 32% of those last received the flu vaccine a year ago or more.

  • Just over 5 in 10 (53%) parents have received a flu vaccination within the last year, compared to nearly 7 in 10 (68%) adults.

Why we aren’t vaccinating

The most common reason for not receiving the flu vaccine among adults who reported they have never received a flu shot was their good health (45%), side effects (29%), and perceived ineffectiveness of the vaccine (24%).

  • One in five (21%) said the reason they have not received the flu vaccine is because they do not believe the flu is a serious illness.
  • One in five (20%) say they fear of contracting the flu from the vaccination is a reason they have not received the flu vaccine.

Parents of children under 18 who reported they have never received a flu shot were more likely to say that the flu is not a serious illness as a reason for not receiving the vaccine themselves (31%).  However, when parents were asked to rate how concerned they were about their child contracting diseases, they were more likely to report they were concerned about their child contracting the flu than any other disease on the list with the exception of meningitis.

  • Parents are more likely than the general population to avoid receiving a vaccination due to fears of contracting the flu as a result of the vaccination (29% vs. 20%).
  • 33% of parents report they are extremely or very concerned about their child contracting the flu.
  • 44% of parents say their child has received vaccine.

Where the Flu vaccine is received

A number of adults report receiving flu shots in venues like the workplace or retail health clinic.

  • Nearly 4 in 10 (39%)adults received the flu shot in their doctor’s office.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) adults received a flu shot in a retail clinic (located in large retail settings such as drug stores, grocery stores or big box stores).
  • Parents are more likely to use/take advantage of vaccinations offered by their employer/workplace (24% vs. 18% adults).

On self-reported knowledge

Adults who say they are extremely or very knowledgeable about how vaccines work were more likely than those who said they were somewhat or not at all knowledgeable to report they have received a flu vaccine (82% vs. 68%).

  • Adults are more likely to say it is extremely or very important or important for a child to receive recommended vaccinations than they are to say it is extremely or very important or important for an adult to receive recommended vaccinations (91% vs. 75%).

About the Survey

NCL commissioned this survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, with an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer. NCL and Harris Interactive are solely responsible for the design of the survey

The NCL Vaccine Survey of  adult Americans was conducted with an emphasis on parents of children between 0-17, to investigate vaccination rates and opinions among the general US population. A total of 1,756 adults aged 18 + were surveyed nationally of whom 993 were parents of children aged 0-17. The survey was conducted online from August 22 to September 9, 2013.

Survey results are weighted to be representative of the US population for gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and region based on the current US Census.

The full survey report, including additional findings on vaccine perceptions, can be found online at


About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll®, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client’s research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez speaks at National Consumers League event on identity theft – National Consumers League

December 16, 2013

Contact: Ben Klein, NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC – Speaking at a National Consumers League event on identity theft, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Thursday that more can be done by the private sector and government to protect consumers and businesses from identity theft.

“It’s clear to me that we need to do more,” said Ramirez, who called for the government to make sure “small and medium sized companies know what they need to do and really understand the importance of data security.”

Chairwoman Ramirez was joined by former FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras in giving keynote remarks at the event yesterday. Majoras served as founding co-chair of President George W. Bush’s Identity Theft Task Force from 2006-2008, leading a major campaign by the federal government to address the growing threat of ID theft.

The two officials joined experts in consumer protection and data security to discuss the growing problem of identity theft, which affected 12.6 million Americans in 2012. Fraud and identity theft have topped the list of FTC consumer complaints for 13 straight years. Although policymakers have taken strides to cut the incidence of these online crimes, the threat remains: every three seconds, a new American becomes a victim of identity theft.

“This event helped to focus attention on the continuing challenge of protecting consumers from identity theft,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “Government at all levels, along with law enforcement, have taken steps to help protect consumers from identity theft, but more must be done. We thank Chairwoman Ramirez and former Chairwoman Majoras for joining us to discuss the task of protect consumers from identity thieves and online fraud.”

The event coincided with the release of a new National Consumers League policy paper entitled “The State of Identity Theft in 2013.” The policy paper, authored by John Breyault, NCL’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud, discusses the measures that have been put in place to protect consumers, and puts forward specific policy recommendations to improve identity theft protections for the future.

“We have taken important steps over the past 15 years to help protect consumers from identity theft,” said Breyault. “But policymakers, advocates and the general public must work to stay ahead of identity thieves and reduce the risk of identity theft. We hope this week’s discussions will be an impetus for further action against online identity thieves.”

Watch a video of the event on the National Consumer League’s YouTube channel.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit