WalMart’s raising wages. Yay? – National Consumers League

Walmart is getting a lot of attention for pledging to raise the minimum wages it pays employees to $9 an hour by April and $10 an hour within a year. As the economy recovers and more jobs are available, apparently WalMart is having trouble filling its workforce. 

Because Walmart is such a dominant force in the economy, with over 1.3 million employees, 500,000 of whom will be affected by this increase, we can cheer this news. But the fact remains that Walmart, even with these increases, will still lag behind retailers like Gap and Ikea, that current have hourly wages at or above $9, and way behind the compensation offered by Costco, with wages closer to $20 an hour, or the Container Store, whose owner wants to ensure that all his employees earn a salary with benefits equal to $50,000. 

Container Store and Costco are among a small—but we hoping growing—group of employers, that understand that families cannot live on $10 an hour let alone the stingy $7.25 minimum wage.

The companies with the worst policies play havoc with their employees’ schedules – not scheduling them for full time work so they don’t have to pay full time benefits, and changing their schedules day to day so they can’t organize day care or pick up from schools with any regularity. 

So this news from WalMart is positive $10 is better than $7.25; and the benefits will ripple throughout the economy. Still, trying to live on this pay is impossible and WalMart workers will continue to have to rely on public benefits to get by. We agree with Chris Owens from the National Employment Law Project who said, “When compared to the $16 billion in profit that the company rakes in annually, Walmart’s promise of $10 an hour — which even for a full-time worker is not enough to keep a family of four out of poverty — is meager.”

That taxpayers subsidize WalMart’’s workforce is unacceptable and a $10 minimum wage won’t change that.


National Consumers League, FDA, National Alliance for Hispanic Health partner to distribute medication adherence radio PSAs in Spanish – National Consumers League

February 26, 2015

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC—Thanks to a partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Consumers League (NCL) has created a new Spanish-language radio public service announcement (PSA) to encourage consumers to take their medications as directed. The new PSAs are the latest tool released by NCL’s Script Your Future campaign and features the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance). Script Your Future is a multi-media public awareness campaign, coordinated by NCL, the nation’s pioneering consumer group, to educate consumers and key health stakeholders on the importance of taking medication as directed.

“Poor medication adherence is a huge public health problem, resulting in 125,000 deaths per year, not to mention hospitalization and costs to our health care system of $300 billion annually,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the NCL. “We are pleased that this partnership with the FDA and the Alliance has enabled us to reach Hispanic communities with these crucial patient messages about the importance of improving one’s personal adherence and working with their health care professionals to better manage chronic conditions.”

The new Spanish radio PSA features the voice of Dr. Jane Delgado, president and CEO of the Alliance reminding patients with chronic conditions of the importance of taking medications as prescribed and refers listeners to the Script Your Future website and the Su Familia helpline for more information. The Script Your Future website now also features information on medication adherence, along with resources and tools for patients with chronic conditions, all in Spanish.

“The National Alliance for Hispanic Health is proud to partner with NCL and FDA to raise awareness in the Hispanic community about the importance of taking your medicines in the recommended way,” said Dr. Delgado. “Helping people take their medicines as directed will benefit individuals, our families, our communities, and our healthcare system as a whole.  Working with NCL and its Script Your Future program is a natural fit for our Su Familia helpline, which offers Hispanic consumers free, reliable and confidential health information so they can make informed decisions about their health.”

“Making sure patients have the information they need to fully understand their medicines and the importance of taking them as prescribed is critical to ensuring healthier futures for Americans as well as our health care system,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which supports the partnership with NCL. “We are pleased these messages will now be able to reach people through the Spanish-language radio stations in their communities.”

For more information, visit To access the PSA, click here.


Script Your Future, launched in 2011, is a three-year national public awareness campaign about medication adherence coordinated by the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information about the Script Your Futurecampaign, visit For more information on NCL, please visit

Consumer group issues taxpayer warning against ID thieves filing illegitimate returns – National Consumers League

February 24, 2015

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

Washington, DC – With Tax Day quickly approaching, the National Consumers League (NCL), is warning consumers to be on the lookout for tax identity fraud and offering tips on recovering from this scam. According to the Treasury Department, 1.6 million Americans fell victim to tax ID theft in the first half of 2013 alone. The Government Accountability Office estimates that identity thieves stole $5.2 billion in 2013 as a result of this fraud.

“While most Americans dread Tax Day, fraudsters increasingly are cashing in with lucrative tax identity fraud scams,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “What makes this scam particularly pernicious is the ease with which fraudsters can steal personal information, file a false tax claim, and then turn the fraudulent refund into untraceable cash before the consumer realizes they have been a victim of a scam.”

Consumers receive W-2 forms from their employer by the end of January, but often wait to file their taxes closer to Tax Day on April 15. Since the IRS aims to process refunds quickly, fraudulent claims often go undetected. NCL, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy group, has published a new guide at to help consumers identify this scam and give advice about how to avoid becoming a victim.

NCL’s analysis of the top scams reported to the database in 2014 revealed a spike in “Phantom Debt Collector” scams. Cases in which a fraudster impersonates an IRS agent make up a significant portion of these scams. Tax related identity theft scams made up nearly a third of the identity theft complaints to the FTC in 2014.

“There is no foolproof way to avoid becoming a victim of tax identity fraud, but there are steps consumers can take to better protect themselves,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “The best thing consumers can do is file their taxes as early as possible to ensure the IRS receives the legitimate tax return before the scammers send in a fraudulent return. Also, consumers need to be increasingly vigilant to protect their personal information. Consumers should frequently change their passwords and refrain from sending sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers or bank account information over email or text message.”

Tips for Consumers

  • File your taxes as early as possible during tax season. Scammers depend on the fact that many taxpayers wait until late in tax-filing season to file. Filing early reduces the risk that a tax ID thief will be able to use your personal information to file fraudulently ahead of you.
  • Check your annual Social Security Administration earnings statement carefully. If there are earnings listed that you don’t recognize, someone else could be using your identity to obtain employment.
  • Review your credit report for any suspicious activity.
  • Never give out personal information, such as your SSN, date of birth, or bank account information in response to unsolicited emails, postal mail, over the phone or via text message, social media or other platform.

For more information about how to spot and avoid this scam, and what to do if you believe you’ve fallen victim, visit

NCL thanks Intuit Tax and Financial Center for the unrestricted educational grant that helped make this consumer guide available 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

Why maintaining 529 tax benefits was the right decision – National Consumers League

Sometimes, even people you respect do stupid things. I’m talking about the Obama Administration’s proposal for taxing families that put money into 529 college savings plants. Right now, parents can set aside funds for their kids’ college education which gets invested in mutual funds and any growth in investment is tax free. In other words, when your son or daughter is ready for college, if you put $20,000 away and it’s now worth $30,000, that $10,000 gain goes untaxed. 

So according to Ron Lieber, financial columnist for the NYT, the proposal would have the IRS hitting families with capital gains tax on the increases from the investment going forward, but also grandfathering the proposal to tax past gains. I admit to having a direct stake in this. We’ve been saving for my son’s college tuition since he came into the world. He’s now a sophomore in college and that 529 fund has paid his tuition. There’s no way we could have paid the hefty cost of college without those savings.  Don’t we want to reward families who put away money for their kids’ college education? Why would we ever take away those tax advantages?

According to Lieber, it was an idea that was never going to happen but it was floated. The idea is that people who have enough money to put away for college savings could part with some of it and pay higher taxes. But Lieber also noted that

money from affluent families have helped lower administrative costs in the 529 plans, which used to be much too high. Everyone benefits from that, including families with less money. There was also the fear that if there’s little or no tax advantage, wealthier families wouldn’t invest in 529s, forcing many states to close down their plans. That would discourage people with less from saving what they can.

The Administration didn’t press forward with the plan. “I think what they failed to recognize is how proud parents are of their decision to set aside money for college,” said Joe Hurley, the founder of a “It isn’t money for a fishing boat. It’s money that they are sacrificing. Anything that threatens that is essentially telling them that they did the wrong thing when they felt like they did the right thing.” That’s right. And that’s why this idea of taxing growth on 529s made no sense and was a sure fire way to get people riled up and angry.  Glad the story has a happy ending and they scratched the plan.


Statement regarding Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement on Ticketmaster agreement – National Consumers League

February 12, 2015

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

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), America’s oldest consumer group, applauds Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster for working to improve Ticketmaster’s disclosure of nontransferable, restricted tickets. This form of ticketing, called paperless or credit-card-entry tickets by the live event industry, requires consumers to buy tickets with a credit or debit card and then use that same card and photo ID to gain entry to the event.

“With restricted tickets, live event fans are often unaware that the tickets they are purchasing are tied to their credit card and are nontransferable. NCL believes consumers should always have the choice of transferable tickets, but General Koster’s efforts help ensure that fans are at least aware, before making a purchase, that their tickets are nontransferable.  No consumer should face losing 100 percent of their hard earned money because their plans changed and they cannot resell or even give away their tickets.

An additional concern, not addressed in the agreement with Ticketmaster, is the impact that paperless ticketing has on unbanked and underbanked consumers. According to the Federal Reserve, 34.4 million U.S. households have no or limited access to traditional banking services, such as debit or credit cards. By requiring a credit or debit card as proof of purchase, paperless ticketing can lock millions of unbanked and underbanked out of the live event marketplace.

NCL advises consumers to always read the fine print before purchasing tickets online as part of our Consumer Guide to Buying Tickets Online.”


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

Lovers, beware: ‘Tis the season for romance scams – National Consumers League

love_stinks.jpgThink you’ve found your Romeo or Juliet online? Experts are warning, especially this time of year, to be on the lookout for predators posing as the perfect sweetheart. These Romance Scams can be a long, drawn-out process–it takes a long time to kindle a relationship in which the victim might actually consider sending cash. We’ve heard from countless victims who were more than just unlucky in love. Read on to hear their stories.After being single for many years, 51-year-old “Dan” befriended a woman on a dating Web site. She said she was an artist in Lagos. The two developed a spiritual connection and grew romantically involved. The woman told Dan that she longed to come to California to be with him. That’s when she asked him for money, and he happily wired her $2,500. Dan was soon contacted by a man claiming to be the woman’s doctor, who said Dan’s true love had been in a terrible accident and wasAfter being single for many years, 51-year-old “Dan” befriended a woman on a dating Web site. She said she was an artist in Lagos. The two developed a spiritual connection and grew romantically involved. The woman told Dan that she longed to come to California to be with him. That’s when she asked him for money, and he happily wired her $2,500. in a coma. Dan never heard from her again.


Hearing about these victims is really tough. They’re devastated emotionally and sometimes out a ton of money. The worst thing is how far from unique Dan’s story is. Sure, there’s a melodramatic twist at the end “explaining” his swindler’s disappearance. But, time and again, the reports we get at NCL’s often contain a drama: an accident, a tragedy, some sudden need for monetary assistance. And, inevitably, love triumphs over caution, and a soon-to-be-heartbroken consumer victim sends the money via wire transfer, preloaded card, or even cash.

Though the details of the scammers’ stories vary with each individual case, the gist is almost always the same: some tragedy has befallen the scammer and he or she desperately needs money. After spending time communicating and building a relationship with the victim, the scammer will ask for help. In a report we received from a woman we’ll call “Molly,” she had met a man on a major online dating site, and they conversed regularly for about a month before the man told Molly that his daughter needed heart surgery. Over the course of several months, Molly sent the man a total of $1,000. Only later did she realize that the man was after her money and nothing more, and that the daughter who needed heart surgery probably didn’t even exist.

In another report, “Pam” told us about a man she’d met online who asked her for $150 because he’d been hit by a car and needed treatment. He then sent her a document that he claimed was a copy of his medical receipt, and asked her to send him another $760 to help him come to the United States so that they could be together. Pam was in love, and she sent the money. He never showed up, but Pam reported that the man still harasses her for more money from time to time.

We’ve heard reports about such scams occurring on all of the major dating sites, and from victims of varying backgrounds. Men, women, young, old, black, white, gay, straight, etc. So while you shouldn’t let this deter you from finding love online, you should remember that these scammers are out there. And while they may not love you, they would love to take your money, so be sure to only consider giving money to someone you’ve met in person, have known for a long time, and can truly trust. Or be prepared to kiss your money – and your special friend – goodbye.

Ways to save on Rx Meds? Co-pay cards and other resources – National Consumers League

92_rx_costs.jpgThe bad news is that the cost of health care continues to rise, and many consumers find it tough to pay for medications. The good news is there are a number of consumer options for saving money on the medications your doctor prescribes. Read on to learn more about how co-pay and discount cards might be a good option for you.

First things first

Find out whether a generic, or non-brand, drug is available and appropriate for you. Generic drugs are a good way to save money, but for some patients, and for certain conditions, a brand-name drug may be needed.

Check out co-pay and discount cards to see if they will save you money on your prescription drugs. With many different kinds of co-pay and discount cards, it may be difficult to sort out which ones are right for you.

What are they?

Co-pay cards can be used to lower or eliminate your insurance co-payment, or out-of-pocket costs, for a prescription medication. A co-pay is the fixed amount that insurance companies ask consumers to pay toward their medication or other health services. The cards are typically offered by companies that manufacture brand-name medicines, although some generic companies offer co-pay card programs as well. Drug discount cards can help lower the price on medications. Most cards are available for free, while others charge a fee up-front to receive the card.

How do they work?

Co-pay cards may be available from your physician or can be found through the Internet, and are generally used to offset the cost of the co-pay for brand-name prescription drugs. Each program is different, but many require that a patient register prior to presenting his or her card to the pharmacist. As a patient, you give the card to your pharmacist when you get a prescription filled. The amount of the co-pay may be reduced or covered entirely. The pharmaceutical company that makes the drug covers the cost of reducing your co-pay when you use the card.

Things to know about co-pay cards:

Co-pay cards can help consumers reduce out-of-pocket costs for their brand name medication, especially for specialty drugs, such as those that treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis. Having access to cheaper medications means patients don’t have to look for cheaper, possibly less effective, versions.

  • Studies show that higher patient co-pay amounts are linked with fewer people taking their medication as directed, or reducing medication adherence. With a lower co-pay, consumers will be less likely to skip taking their mediation.
  • Some say co-pay cards encourage the use of more expensive brand-name drugs over lower cost generics. Some patients, however, must take a brand-name drug for medical reasons and there may not be a generic drug available that contains the exact same active ingredient.
  • Co-pay cards CANNOT be used by people with MedicareMedicaid, or other federal or state healthcare programs. The federal government is cracking down on the use of co-pay cards for Medicare part D drugs. There was a recent Special Advisory put out by the Office of Inspector General that “underscored that manufacturers are responsible to ensure that co-pay card coupons are not used by Medicare D beneficiaries.”
  • Many mail order medication programs do not accept co-pay cards.

Drug discount cards are often available online. The cards may be offered and paid for by state governments, pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, or large retail store chains. Discount cards work through participating pharmacies that agree to offer lower prices on a variety of medicines (both brand names and generics), similar to the prices provided to insurance companies or large employers.

Things to know about discount cards:

  • Be careful about any cards that charge a fee up front to get access to the card. The fees could add up to more than the discount itself!
  • When using a free card, it is still important to consider the cost of your medication. The generic version may be cheaper than the discounted brand medication covered by the card.
  • The card can be used if your insurance does not cover your medication, or if your deductible has not been met.
  • A few discount cards can be used with Medicare (especially if you fall within the Part D donut hole), but you should check the individual card since this is very program specific.

Who pays for these cost savings for you?

Pharmaceutical companies that make the drug often pay for the cost of co-pay card programs, because their brand-name drugs become more affordable for consumers. Participating pharmacies agree to offer consumers discount prices for the medications covered by a drug discount card. In return, participating pharmacies receive more customers when people can afford to fill their prescriptions and get more traffic through other areas of their stores.

Be on the lookout

Once again, watch for cards with fees. Generally, you should not have to pay for a co-pay or discount card. Most are available without any fee.

Guard your personal information. Be careful about giving out any personal information to get a card. Never list your Social Security Number. Most companies ask if you would like to receive any additional information, offers, and advertisements, so be sure to decline if you aren’t interested.

Learn more

These Web sites provide links to hundreds of assistance programs, including co-pay cards, drug discount cards, and coupons. Through these links to other Web sites, you can access co-pay and discount cards directly. Pharmaceutical companies also have sites for cost-saving programs or cards for their specific medicines. For many of these programs, there are no fees or registration costs for using the cards, but check carefully before you sign up.

Offers links to co-pay cards, coupons, and other financial assistance for brand name prescriptions. Search the alphabetized database for your brand name medication and click to take you to the drug manufacturer’s Web site to sign up for the assistance. These discounts are not available to those whose prescriptions are paid for by any state or federal program, including Medicare and Medicaid, and there are some state specific limitations.

Co-pay Cards from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

Drug manufacturers offer specific co-pay assistance for a variety of medications, here are a few examples:

  • Lipitor $4 co-pay/prescription
  • Crestor- $18 co-pay/prescription
  • Nexium- $18 co-pay/prescription for up to 12 fills


The site offers a free, downloadable prescription discount card to print and use at participating pharmacies as well as links to other discount programs and co-pay cards for both brand and generic medications. Search the alphabetized database for prescription assistance programs, links to co-pay cards, and disease specific assistance programs. Needymeds includes other services, such as locating free/low cost clinics, MRI/CAT scan discounts, scholarships, and links to Medicaid sites.

Familywize: Prescription Discount Card

Patients can access a discount card that can be used in over 60,000 pharmacies to lower the cost of prescription drugs. This card is free of charge and can be downloaded and printed. The card is also available electronically on a mobile phone. This site offers a user-friendly drug lookup table so you can begin to estimate your drug costs using the card.

Mobile Apps

Discount cards are available as mobile apps downloadable to your phone. The electronic discount card is then presented to the pharmacist when you fill your prescription. Check out your app store for more details.

Other prescription assistance programs

Here are more resources to assist with the cost of prescription drugs. Many pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs for those who cannot afford their medications and have no health insurance. Information is available at their websites by putting “patient assistance programs” or “patient support” into the search field at the site.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Programs around the country that help patients, caregivers, and prescribers access free or low-cost prescription drugs. This site links to a variety of services to help lower your co-payment for both prescriptions and other medical services.

Patient Access Network

Helps underinsured patients with co-payments for cancer or chronic disease medications.

Benefits CheckUp: Prescription Drug Assistance

National Council of Aging Web site that helps seniors with limited income and resources make the best decisions about the public and private programs that are available to help them save money on prescription drugs and other healthcare costs.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs

Consumers Union, the group that publishes Consumer Reports, evaluates the best drugs to treat certain conditions based on how well the drugs work, their safety, their side effects, and their cost. This information is also available in Spanish.

Medicare Extra Help

Some people with limited resources and income also are eligible for Extra Help to pay for the costs related to a Medicare prescription drug plan – – monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments.

Provides pharmacy discounts based on negotiated prices at participating pharmacies. is partnered with a pharmacy benefit provider to help make the information accessible by simply picking a pharmacy or searching for a drug. The search results will come up with the nearest pharmacies or the pharmacies with the best discounts. Patients may claim the discounts by either printing the coupon or sending it electronically to a mobile phone.

NCL praises outgoing FDA Commissioner Hamburg – National Consumers League

February 5, 2015

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

Washington, DC– The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneer consumer advocacy organization, thanks Dr. Margaret Hamburg for her service to the Food and Drug Administration as Commissioner.

“Dr. Hamburg’s leadership at the FDA will be sorely missed,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL. “Under her leadership, the FDA implemented key food safety provisions, stood up for broad access to contraception for women,  advancing the safety of medical devices, and speeding up safe and effective drug treatments and devices. Dr. Hamburg was particularly effective at convening and including diverse voices to best serve American consumers.”

In 2011, NCL honored Hamburg with the Trumpeter Award. NCL noted that Hamburg is  “one of the most powerful and influential voices in public health, working to protect the safety of the food supply, provide access to safe and effective medical products, and find innovative ways to prevent illness and promote health.” Hamburg served as the health commissioner in New York City, the youngest person to serve in that role,  and earned praise for her effective programs that battled tuberculosis, slowed the spread of AIDS, and boosted childhood immunization rates.

Hamburg was confirmed as FDA Commissioner by the U.S. Senate in 2009; she is among the longest-serving FDA commissioners the modern era. NCL salutes her for her legacy as FDA Commissioner and for her friendship and support for NCL’s medication adherence program, Script Your Future.


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

Anthem Data Breach Increases Identity Fraud Risk for Tens of Millions of Consumers – National Consumers League

February 5, 2015

Consumer group offers tips for affected customers and employees and calls for urgently-needed data security reform in Washington 

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League is warning consumers that the data breach at Anthem, Inc. is likely to raise the risk of identity fraud for tens of millions of current and former Anthem customers and employees. According to published reports, the breach compromised as many as 80 million records, including sensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, postal addresses, email addresses, employment and income data.

Criminals can use these pieces of personal information to commit a range of identity crimes in another consumer’s name. Such fraud can include opening lines of credit, filing fraudulent tax returns, and obtaining medical care or government documents to name only a few possible uses of this compromised data. While only a small percentage of compromised records are typically used to commit fraud, given the reported size of the Anthem breach, a significant number of consumers may fall victim to identity crime as a result of this breach.

“It is highly likely that the personal information compromised at Anthem has already or will soon appear for sale on cybercrime black markets,” said John Breyault, NCL Vice President, Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud. “As Anthem and investigators work to get to the bottom of this breach, it is important that consumers understand the possible consequences of this breach for their personal identity fraud risk.”

The Anthem data breach once again highlights the urgent need for businesses that collect and store ever-greater amounts of consumer information to do more to protect that sensitive data. According to the Online Trust Alliance, more than 90% of data breaches that occurred in the first half of 2014 could have easily been prevented. While many businesses and other organizations have taken steps to improve their cyber defenses, it is clear what is being done is insufficient to stem to growing tide of cybercrime.

Leadership from Capitol Hill on this issue is urgently needed. As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, “I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. ”Through the #DataInsecurity Project, NCL is working to hold Congressional leaders to account for following through on the President’s call to protect the millions of consumers who fall victim to cybercrime every year. A recent Javelin Strategy & Research survey commissioned by NCL found an overwhelming majority (72%) of identity fraud victims believe that existing federal data security requirements are insufficient to protect their data.

“At what point do we say enough is enough?” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Businesses are making billions of dollars off of consumers’ data, but too many of them are not taking the steps needed to protect that data. The Anthem breach is another battle lost in the war against cybercrime. It is time for Washington to step up and institute reforms that finally help businesses get religion when it comes to data security.”

As federal policymakers debate data security reform, consumers should take steps to mitigate their risk of data breach-fueled identity fraud. NCL is offering the following tips to customers affected by the Anthem data breach:

  1. Anthem customers and employees should beware of phishing emails that may seek to trick them in to clicking on suspicious links or attachments. These emails can look very convincing and may reference the Anthem breach in some way. Clicking on the links or opening an attachment contained in the email can install malware that may be used to obtain additional sensitive personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers, usernames and passwords. Current and former Anthem customers and employees should be aware that Anthem has stated it will contact them via mail to notify them about further information related to the breach. More information is available from Anthem at or by phone at (877) 263-7995.
  2. Monitor your credit report and dispute suspicious activity. Consumers can download a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) at
  3. If you suspect identity fraud has occurred, it is important to act quickly. Call one of the three credit reporting bureaus and request an initial fraud alert. This will place alerts on your report at all three credit-reporting bureaus. Once the alert is in place, the credit reporting bureaus will contact you when someone attempts to open credit in your name.
  4. If you confirm that you have been a victim of identity fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission to create and Identity Theft Affidavit. This affidavit can be used to file a police report with your local police department. Together, these two documents form an Identity Theft Report, which is crucial to beginning the process of recovering from identity fraud. More information on spotting, reporting and recovering from identity fraud is available at The FTC also has a useful consumer checklist that includes information and required documentation for creating the Identity Theft Affidavit and police report available online.
  5. Do not reply to suspicious emails, as this may lead to additional social engineering attacks. Instead, the safest course of action is to simply delete the email. Consumers can also forward them to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team at
  6. Update your passwords on sensitive accounts, such as e-mail, social media and online bank and credit card accounts. Do not use the same username and password combination across multiple accounts. If stronger security measures such as multi-factor authentication are offered, enable them.


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

Vaccine perception study finds Americans wary, misinformed about vaccine benefits – National Consumers League

February 5, 2015

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) is asking parents to look at the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and effective and get their kids vaccinated. With increasing numbers of parents foregoing the measles and other vaccinations, experts are concerned this behavior is putting whole communities at risk.

“This generation of parents has never experienced the panic—and often heartbreak—caused by outbreaks of diphtheria, polio, small pox, tetanus and influenza that earlier generations of parents suffered before vaccines were discovered,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director. “History books are filled with harrowing accounts of parents losing multiple children to these diseases, illnesses that today have been all but eradicated. Let us never return to those dark days and thank modern science and medicine that our children can lead healthy, long, and happy lives.”

NCL, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy group, conducted a survey that sadly reveals a deep distrust in the effectiveness and safety of vaccines.  

According to a national Harris Poll conducted in 2013:

  • 76% of those surveyed agreed with the statement: More research is needed on the safety of vaccines and the risk they pose.
  • 61% agreed that: Pharmaceutical companies minimize vaccine risks.
  • 45% agree that: The national media minimizes vaccine risks.
  • 45% agree that: Vaccines are just a way for pharmaceutical companies to make money.
  • 33% agree that: “I think vaccinations can cause autism.”

Not only are children who are not vaccinated made unnecessarily susceptible to diseases that vaccines could otherwise prevent, but children who cannot be vaccinated due to health concerns or because they are too young, are also put at risk due to the decreased strength of herd immunity. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children that do not receive the measles vaccine are 35 times more likely to contract measles than children who are vaccinated.

“Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are misinformed and are endangering the larger community,” said Greenberg. “The evidence that vaccines cause autism has been thoroughly debunked, and the study has been retracted after it was found to contain falsified research. There is no credible link from vaccines to autism, they are not poisonous, and they can save children from life threatening diseases. Those are the facts.”

The effects of the anti-vaccination movement have been manifested in the increasing numbers of measles diagnoses. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared measles eliminated. In 2014, the CDC confirmed 644 cases in 27 states, and just one month into 2015, there have already been 102 confirmed cases in 14 states. If the current rate of diagnoses is maintained throughout the year, 2015’s total measles diagnoses will nearly double 2014 numbers.

“Americans are confused about vaccines, plain and simple,” said Rebecca Burkholder, NCL vice president for health policy. “For over a generation, we have lived virtually free from many of these diseases due to the very effectiveness of the vaccines that have stamped them out. We have lost perspective on how deadly they can be. Now, we are dealing with a group of Americans who don’t appreciate the severity of these illnesses, are exercising personal choice to abstain from vaccinating, and are enabling these deadly diseases to start to infiltrate our communities once again.”

NCL’s survey revealed that adults do not view measles as a severe disease, despite the fact that for centuries, before a vaccine was invented, measles killed up to 500 children a year and hospitalized an estimated 48,000 more. When asked to rank diseases for severity, measles (6.9/10) ranked near the bottom, with mumps (6.9/10), the flu (6.4/10), and chicken pox (6.4/10). Comparatively, meningitis (8.5/10) and polio (8.4/10) ranked at the top.

Although most survey respondents (87%) say they support mandatory vaccination of school-aged children in theory, 64 percent of adults say parents should have the final say about whether or not to vaccinate. Experts fear it is this misguided personal choice that is dramatically threatening our nation’s health. 

“We must not allow anti-vaccination rhetoric to undermine a critically important method for keeping children safe from illness or disease. A century ago, parents lived in fear of losing a child to typhoid, polio, measles, or small pox. Today, thanks to modern science, we should no longer need to worry about these grave threats to our children’s safety,” said Greenberg. “Absent a religious belief or health concern, it is every parent’s moral responsibility to ensure their children are vaccinated.”

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.


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