Yesterday was the official kick-off of this year's National Consumer Protection Week, and consumer advocates (at least those not temporarily buried under a rare DC snowstorm) have begun the celebration! Every year, federal, state, and local government agencies and consumer organizations from across the nation collaborate to bring American consumers timely, important info about consumer issues. This year's theme is "Nuts and Bolts: Tools for Today's Economy," and it's especially relevant, given how crazy and scary our economy is these days. The organizations and agencies we work with on the NCPW Steering Committee are an awesome group of dedicated consumer educators and advocates, and its their hard work that results in each year's NCPW! Whether you are interested in trying to stretch your paycheck, improve your credit history, or tell the difference between a real deal and a potentially fraudulent product or service, information is one tool that can always help you get the most for your money. And the best news is that this information is all FREE! In celebration of NCPW, we at the National Consumers League have put together a new section at fraud.org about avoiding pyramid schemes (we blogged about this last week) and are working hard to educate consumers on a wide variety of topics. Stay tuned for more this week about the issues that we think are important to consumers during NCPW -- and year-round!