October 2022 DFPI Consumer Connection – EIN Presswire – EIN News

There were 2,013 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 262,902 in the last 365 days.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver deadline is Oct. 31, 2022  
Student Loan Repayment Pause ends Dec. 31, 2022 – Get ready by doing the following: 
2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form is available Oct. 1, 2022 – The first step in financing your college education is applying for federal financial aid. To do this, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA. Although the form is available on Oct. 1, you do not need to submit right away. The federal deadline is Jun. 30, 2023, although some schools and some states have their own earlier deadlines. 
Want to learn more?
The DFPI is partnering with consumer advocates, government organizations, and California legislative offices to host multiple student loan webinars throughout October. For videos of past workshops, visit the Californians with Student Loans Playlist on our YouTube Channel.
Student loan news and social media posts are just about everywhere these days. So, scammers are aware that you might be confused or have questions about your student loans and whether you qualify for any of the many debt relief programs being offered. You might be contacted by someone claiming they will help you get loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation, or debt relief for a fee. Remember, you never have to pay for help with your federal student aid. Make sure you work only with the U.S. Department of Education and your loan servicer. Never reveal your personal information or account password to anyone. If you run into problems with your student loans, you can file complaints at the following government agencies: 
For more information about DFPI’s Education & Outreach programs, events calendar, and other consumer protection resources, please visit the DFPI Education & Outreach Webpage. Recordings of select events can also be viewed on the DFPI YouTube Channel
Learn how you can protect your personal and financial information and not fall prey to frauds and scams. More information: (661) 868-0701. 
In-person seminar with DFPI, Contractors State License Board, and Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (AD 74). RSVP: Senior Scam Stopper or (949) 251-0074.  
Learn how to protect your personal and financial information and not fall prey to frauds and scams. More information: (661) 725-1078. 
Kern County Commission on Aging hosts a Senior Celebration. RSVP: Laura Juarez, (661) 868-1052. 
DFPI reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief application. Additional topics include Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), student loan updates, and a dedicated question and answer session. Register and submit your questions.
Learn how to protect your personal and financial information and not fall prey to frauds and scams. Register: LA County Library.
The DFPI, the San Bernardino Mexican Consulate, and La Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros (CONDUSEF) present at Mexico’s National Week of Financial Education. Check our Consumer Education & Outreach Calendar for updates and registration.
In-person seminar with DFPI, Contractors State License Board, and Office of Assemblyman Jim Patterson (AD 23). RSVP: (559) 446-2029.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program 
Student Debt Relief Program 
Ways to find out what kind of student loan you have: 
Do you work in executive leadership or human resources at a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization? Through Oct. 31, 2022, you have an exciting opportunity to promote Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), a government program that could provide substantial financial benefit to your employees at no cost to your organization.  
Why does PSLF matter? Public service work is a big part of the economy – roughly one in four U.S. workers are employed by a government agency, a nonprofit, or the military. Higher education is often required to qualify for many nonprofit jobs, especially in nonprofits that provide specialized services such as legal services or healthcare. The PSLF Program was created to help fill public and nonprofit sector jobs that tend to pay lower salaries than the private sector. By supporting and promoting PSLF, you gain an effective tool for recruiting, retention, and promoting diversity in your workforce. 
Our goal should be to make sure that all borrowers in the public and nonprofit sectors have the information they need to apply for loan forgiveness by Oct.31. For more information on how you can get involved, read Nonprofits Must Step Up Now: How to Help Employees Access Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was designed to raise awareness for people who have been victims of domestic violence. Financial abuse is the most pervasive form of domestic abuse, affecting nearly 99% of total domestic violence cases. Throughout the month of October, the DFPI will be sharing educational resources about financial abuse on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To learn more about financial abuse, how to identify it, how to protect yourself, and how to help others who are experiencing it, read Financial Abuse Is Domestic Abuse.
Social media is no longer just a way for people to connect with one another, it’s now a place where information is available at the touch of an app. A lot of financial information is available on social platforms and consumers should be aware of the risks involved with taking advice from unlicensed financial advisers. Financial influencers or “finfluencers” often don’t have the experience or qualifications to guide people on what’s best for them. As financial exploitation continues to be a growing concern, particularly with young adults, historically marginalized communities, and the elderly, consumers need to know how to spot red flags and how to protect themselves when seeking financial advice online. For more information, read Social Media Finfluencers – Who Should You Trust?
As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the month of October promotes the importance of staying safe and secure online. Today’s world requires an ever-increasing amount of cyber protection. Stay on top of the latest cybersecurity trends with the following cyber protection plan: 
Update software: Software updates are necessary to keep computers, mobile devices, and tablets running smoothly and they lower security vulnerabilities. Security patches protect a device from malware and other types of hacker attacks.  
Run antivirus scans: Running an antivirus scan is an important part of maintaining your computer and all your devices. Viruses damage the data in your computer and can even leave openings for hackers and other individuals with malicious intent to find out your personal data, banking information, or other details.  
Change your passwords: After updating your software and running an antivirus scan, it is a good idea to change your passwords for an extra layer of protection. Use a password manager app to make remembering and keeping passwords organized easier. 
Keep private info private: Never reveal personal information such as your date of birth, social security number, passport number, etc. Even the surveys you take or games you play on social media could potentially give away key information you use for passwords. 
Learn to spot imposters: Even websites and emails that have legitimate-looking logos and letterheads can be fake. Research the websites you are using. Check the sender’s email address, look for typos and poor grammar, or any message claiming a sense of urgency. Federal and state government agencies do not call you or email you. If someone contacts you claiming to be from a government agency asking for your log in info, it is most likely a scam. 
Protect yourself from cyber fraud: The DFPI regularly posts Consumer Alerts on the latest trending scams and fraud on its website and on social media, including recent consumer advisories on crypto asset fraud and theft. You can report crypto asset fraud and other types of financial fraud on the DFPI File a Complaint Webpage or by contacting us at Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov or by calling toll-free (866) 275-2677.
International Credit Union Day (Oct. 20) was designated to promote consumer education about the benefits of credit unions. A credit union is a nonprofit cooperative and can be a great alternative to traditional banking. In many ways, a credit union works exactly like a traditional bank, but its emphasis is on improving the financial well-being of its account holders rather than creating a profit for its investors. When looking for financial services, it’s always a good idea to comparison-shop. Compare your local credit union and bank’s fee structures, interest rates, conveniences, and product offerings and choose the one that best matches your financial needs. Federally chartered credit unions are regulated by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). Credit Unions chartered in California are regulated by the DFPI. To check to see if your local credit union is chartered in California, you can search for them in the DFPI’s Directory of State Chartered Credit Unions. For more information, read Why Choose a Credit Union Over a National Bank?
If you requested (and received) an extension to file your federal tax returns, your final deadline is Oct. 17. In most years, the deadline is Oct. 15, but since that date falls on a Saturday in 2022, you have two extra days to get your taxes in. Your return will be considered filed on time if it is postmarked and in the mail by Oct. 17. For more information, visit the IRS Extension of Time to File Your Tax Return Webpage.
On Sept. 27, the DFPI issued desist and refrain orders against 11 entities for violations of California securities laws. The entities are alleged to have used investor funds to pay purported profits to other investors, in what is known as a High Yield Investment Program (HYIP) scheme. These are investment frauds that typically promise high returns with low risk and overly consistent returns, provide little details about the people running the HYIP, use vague language to describe how the HYIP makes money, offer referral bonuses, facilitate deposits and withdrawals with crypto assets, and use social media to gain attention and attract investors. For more information, read the Press Release.
On Sept. 26, the DFPI joined the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and seven other state securities regulators to bring actions against the Nexo Group (Nexo) in connection with its Earn Interest Product accounts. These accounts allow investors to deposit crypto assets with Nexo; in exchange, they would earn interest on those deposits. The DFPI determined that Nexo offered its Earn Interest Product accounts to California residents without first qualifying these accounts as securities. This action is a part of a larger DFPI effort to investigate companies that offer consumers interest-bearing crypto asset accounts (commonly referred to as “crypto interest accounts”). This order follows three similar actions issued by the DFPI to BlockFi Lending LLC, Voyager Digital LLC, and Celsius Network Inc. For more information, read the Press Release.
On Sept. 19, a federal court unsealed a joint complaint by the DFPI and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against a recidivist mortgage assistance relief scam. The complaint alleges that defendants falsely promised to reduce homeowners’ mortgage payments and prevent foreclosures, defrauding distressed homeowners by an estimated $6.3 million. The defendants conducted business through multiple entities located in the Los Angeles area from 2018-2022. The court issued a temporary restraining order to halt the scheme and freeze assets and appointed a receiver to assist with taking over the defendants’ businesses and administer any potential relief for victims. This marks the first joint DFPI and FTC action that relies in part on the enforcement powers of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL). For more information, read the Press Release.
Sanjeev Kumar Fraudulently Posing as a California-Licensed Loan Officer 
Sept. 16 | The DFPI posted a Consumer Alert warning consumers about Sanjeev Kumar fraudulently marketing himself through social media as a Senior Loan Officer under NMLS# 314126. In fact, the NMLS unique identifier belongs to another legitimate DFPI licensed Mortgage Loan Originator. 
Scammer Posing as Coinbase Anti-Fraud Employee 
Sept. 7 | The DFPI posted a Consumer Alert warning consumers about an alleged crypto asset scam that involved an imposter claiming to work in the fraud department at Coinbase. The scammer told the consumer his account had been hacked and, since the caller seemed legitimate, he proceeded to work with the caller to stop the hack. The victim subsequently found out that the caller had changed the phone number affiliated with his account and all his assets had disappeared. Consumers should never share account or personal information with unsolicited callers. Instead, contact the company involved directly.  
The DFPI urges consumers to exercise extreme caution before responding to any solicitation offering investment or financial services. To check whether an investment or financial service provider is licensed in California, contact the DFPI at Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov or call toll-free at (866) 275-2677. 
On Sept. 20, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) awarded DFPI’s Enforcement Counsel Danielle Stoumbos and Kelly Suk an Outstanding Team Service Award for their leadership on the Safeguard Metals litigation. The DFPI as a lead state, along with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 29 other state regulators, filed a federal civil lawsuit in the Central District of California against Safeguard Metals LLC and its principal for perpetrating a $68 million fraud scheme targeting the elderly. Safeguard Metals, a precious metals dealer, is alleged to have advised clients to dissolve their traditional retirement accounts to roll over into self-directed IRAs to purchase highly inflated and fraudulently marked up coins sold by the company. For more information, read the Safeguard Metals LLC Enforcement Action.
On Oct. 3, the California Lawyers Association (CLA) awarded its 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Public Law (OAPL) Award to the DFPI’s Real Estate Educational Services (REES) task force. The REES team led an historic 45-state agency task force in conjunction with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) to uncover qualifications fraud by over 600 mortgage loan originators nationwide. The investigation determined that Real Estate Educational Services (REES), owned by Danny Yen, knowingly conducted an education fraud scheme in which he distributed course completion certificates to licensees for courses they did not attend or complete. For details, visit the DFPI Newsroom
Governor Newsom announced on Sept. 2 the appointment of Avyark “Avy” Mallik as General Counsel for the DFPI. Avy will be finishing up the current Congressional session and joining us later this year. He will be based out of our San Francisco office.  
Avy has served as Director of Fintech Policy for the Financial Services Committee at the United States House of Representatives since 2021, where he was Senior Counsel from 2019 to 2021. He was an Assistant Attorney General for the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General from 2018 to 2019. Mallik was Director of Foreclosure Prevention Program and Foreclosure Prevention Staff Attorney at Civil Justice from 2013 to 2018. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center. 
The DFPI is California’s primary regulatory authority overseeing financial services, products, and professionals. Its mission includes protecting consumers from potential abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices.  
If you are passionate about wanting to make a difference in protecting consumers from financial fraud, join our team! Find out more about available positions on the DFPI Careers Webpage.
More banks are starting to offer mortgages that don’t require some first-time buyers to save up a large down payment. This initiative is part of an effort to close the racial and ethnic homeownership gap, which is a big piece of the racial wealth gap. However, “Zero Down Payment” loans are a bit of a misnomer. They do technically require a down payment, but banks are offering grants of as much as $15,000 to cover it. These programs allow lenders to target neighborhoods that are predominantly Black or Latino. The banks use a Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP), a policy made possible by the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act, that permits lenders to discriminate in order to help disadvantaged borrowers. Federal regulators across several agencies have issued guidance on SPCPs over the past year or so encouraging their use. To learn more, read Why “Zero-Down” Mortgages Are Gaining Ground.
The DFPI Education & Outreach team is eager to hear from you. Please contact us at Outreach@dfpi.ca.gov.  
For more information about DFPI’s Education & Outreach programs, events calendar, and other consumer protection resources, please visit the DFPI Education & Outreach Webpage
CLOTHILDE V. HEWLETT • Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation
The October 2022 Consumer Connection covers the month ending October 2022.
The Consumer Connection is available at no charge via e-mail.
To subscribe, go to: www.dfpi.ca.gov/subscribe
The DFPI encourages financial services consumers to submit complaints if they believe a DFPI licensee or registrant has violated state law or acted improperly, or they believe a company or person is conducting unlicensed or unregistered activity that falls within the DFPI’s jurisdiction. To file a complaint, visit our File a Complaint Webpage or contact us at Ask.DFPI@dfpi.ca.gov or toll-free at (866) 275-2677.
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