2016 Press Releases

2016 Press Releases

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Subway Outreach and Other Efforts to Inform People of Legal Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment
NYC Commission on Human Rights, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, Public Engagement Unit, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and elected officials, conducts a 5-borough subway outreach and launches digital and mobile transit app ads on December 20th to inform New Yorkers of legal protections against discrimination and harassment
Commission announces expanded Infoline at 718-722-3131 to field questions about discrimination and harassment
Commission creates “Bias Response Team” to monitor incidents of discriminatory harassment citywide and respond with resources for victim and affected communities

NEW YORK— The NYC Commission on Human Rights announces today a series of actions to provide New Yorkers with tools to report incidents of discrimination and harassment, as well as information for immigrant communities.

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Commissioner Chong Host "Smiles of Love" Holiday Gift Distribution in Harlem
A record 3,002 toys for young people in NYC
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong today hosted the eighth annual “Smiles of Love” holiday gift drive at John S. Roberts Junior High in East Harlem. This year, the annual drive collected over 3,000 gifts, doubling last year’s donations. More than 1,000 participants from DYCD’s COMPASS afterschool, Beacon, Cornerstone, Fatherhood, and Runaway and Homeless Youth programs received a wrapped gift at five simultaneous distribution events held across the City.

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Visits Businesses Citywide to Inform Employers of Upcoming Minimum Wage Increase
Consumer Affairs Mails Postcard to 325,000 Employers Reminding them that the Minimum Wage Increases December 31, 2016
City Inspectors Issue Advice, Not Violations, to Local Businesses Across the City

NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and staff, as well as representatives from the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and Small Business Services (SBS), visited businesses in all five boroughs today to educate businesses about the upcoming increase in the state minimum wage. Throughout the day, teams visited businesses in East Harlem, Flatbush, Parkchester, Sunnyside, and Westerleigh/Castleton to distribute postcards (Bengali, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish) reminding local businesses that the New York State minimum wage goes up for all workers regardless of status on December 31, 2016. DCA also mailed the postcard to 325,000 New York City employers. Staff and inspectors also provided businesses with information about how to comply with key workplace, consumer protection, and licensing laws that the Agency enforces—without issuing violations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Statement from Mayor de Blasio on the Introduction of Fair Workweek Legislation
"Earlier this year we promised to protect tens of thousands of hardworking New Yorkers from the struggle that comes from a lack of a predictable and stable work schedule. Knowing your hours ahead of time is too often taken for granted, though it is a downright necessity for arranging childcare, class schedules and budgeting for the week. Working with our partners in the City Council, we introduced legislation that would require fast food employers to provide advance notice of upcoming shifts. This is an important next step in protecting the rights of 65,000 New Yorkers and once again demonstrates that we are committed to being a city that is fair and equitable for all."

Thursday, December 1, 2016
City and Make the Road New York Hit the Streets in Queens to Warn New Yorkers about Immigration Service Fraud
Consumer Affairs Releases New Tips for Immigrants to Protect Themselves from Fraud and Other Types of Scams
Consumer Affairs also Releases New Consumer Protection Tips for Older Adults and Women to Protect Themselves in the Marketplace and Workplace

NEW YORK, NY—The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and Make the Road New York, as well as elected officials, advocacy groups, and legal service providers today took to the streets in Queens, the country’s most diverse county, during the morning commute to educate New Yorkers about immigration services fraud and to “PROTECT yourself, REPORT fraud, and SEEK help.” Teams at subway stations along the 7 line in Corona and Jackson Heights warned immigrant New Yorkers about the increase in immigration services scams, directed them to free, trusted resources for immigration assistance through City-supported legal services programs such as ActionNYC, the Immigrant Opportunity Initiative, Key to the City, NYCitizenship and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, and armed them with DCA’s new consumer protection tips for immigrants.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A.G. Schneiderman Issues Fraud Alert On Immigration Scams
Attorney General's Office, Immigration Groups Have Received An Increased Number Of Reported Scams In Recent Weeks
With Increased Anxiety In Immigrant Communities Due To Political Climate, Immigrants Should Be Aware Of Potential Scammers Offering Immigration Service

NEW YORK, NY— In light of increased fear and anxiety in immigrant communities as a result of the current political climate, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued a fraud alert warning immigrants to be aware of potential scammers offering immigration services. Immigration fraud affects large segments of communities and involves individuals or companies who target vulnerable immigrants by providing unauthorized and fraudulent immigration services. In recent weeks, the Attorney General’s office and many legal aid organizations that work with immigrant communities have received an increased number of calls and reported scams.

Martes, 22 de Noviembre de 2016
Schneiderman Emite Alerta Sobre Fraude En Servicios De Inmigración
Organizaciones que ayudan a los de inmigrantes han recibido un número creciente de reportes de estafas en las últimas semanas
Debido a la creciente ansiedad causada por el clima político, los inmigrantes deben estar conscientes de potenciales estafadores potenciales que ofrecen servicio de inmigración

NUEVA YORK— A la luz del creciente temor y ansiedad en las comunidades de inmigrantes como resultado del clima político actual, el Fiscal General Eric T. Schneiderman emitió hoy una alerta de fraude a los inmigrantes para que estén conscientes de posibles estafadores que ofrecen servicios de inmigración. El fraude de inmigración afecta a grandes segmentos de comunidades e involucra a individuos o compañías que se dirigen a inmigrantes vulnerables proporcionando servicios de inmigración no autorizados y fraudulentos. En las últimas semanas, la oficina del Fiscal General y muchas organizaciones de ayuda legal que trabajan con comunidades inmigrantes han recibido un número creciente de llamadas y reportes de estafas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Menin and Newly Created Nonprofit "NYC Kids RISE" Announce Child Savings Account Program to Help Public School Students Save for College
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Julie Menin, chair of the newly formed public-private partnership NYC Kids RISE, and the Gray Foundation’s Mindy and Jon Gray today announced the launch of NYC’s Child Savings Account (CSA) initiative, a new child savings account program to help thousands of New York City public school children save for college. The first phase will fund accounts for 10,000 children over three years.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Issues Holiday Shopping Tips
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today issued the following Holiday Shopping Tips to protect consumer’s identity and money during the holiday season. This annual effort is set to kick off the holiday shopping season and make consumers aware of their rights–including new gift card protections, help them spend wisely, and protect them from scams.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio Signs Legislation Strengthening Protections for Freelance Workers
Also signs package of bills revising foster care reporting and information collection
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for, and signed, 12 pieces of legislation into law – Intro. 1017-C, in relation to strengthening protections for freelance workers; Intros. 464-A and 796-A, in relation to promoting absentee voting amongst jailed individuals and requiring City agencies participating in the agency-based voter registration program to assist applicants completing the organ donation section; Intro. 83-A, in relation to requiring the Police Department to publicly post reports concerning cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator retraining and reporting; Intros. 1187-A, 1190-A, 1191-A, 1192-A, 1197-A, 1199-A and 1205-A, in relation to amending local laws around foster care; and Intro. 1242, in relation to the establishment of the Greater JFK Business Improvement District.

Friday, November 4, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Executive Order Banning City Agencies from Inquiring About Salary History of Job Applicants
In major step toward achieving pay equity for women and people of color, City agencies will no longer be allowed to inquire about an applicant’s salary history before extending a conditional offer of employment
Under Mayor de Blasio, for first time in City history, women and people of color hold majority of managerial positions in City government

NEW YORK, NY—In a major effort to ensure fair employment practices and close the pay gap for women and people of color, Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed Executive Order 21 prohibiting City agencies from inquiring about the salary history of job applicants. Executive Order 21 is the most recent effort by the de Blasio Administration to ensure the families of NYC’s diverse workforce are supported and enabled to thrive. The Mayor also announced his intent to support Intro. 1253, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, which seeks to prevent both public and private employers from inquiring about potential employees’ salary histories. The Mayor and First Lady were joined by senior Administration officials, elected officials, City employees and advocates.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
City Hall, NYPD Announce Slate of Policies to Reduce Barriers to Safety Faced by Victims of Domestic Violence
De Blasio Administration protecting survivors’ rights, safety, paychecks and housing
Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland introduce legislation to provide Paid Safe Leave for domestic violence victims

NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced a package of policies to protect domestic violence survivors, their livelihoods and their homes. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Mayor de Blasio will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty. The City will also put housing lawyers in every Family Justice Center to aggressively defend survivors’ housing rights, and work with the NYPD to root out chronic offenders by instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement targets resources on the highest priority abusers and contacts every victim to ensure safety after an Order of Protection has been violated.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Consumer Affairs Opens Waiting List for General Vendor Licenses to Sell Goods and Services on the Street
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced that the agency is creating a new waiting list for people who want to apply for general vendor licenses, which is required to sell, lease, or offer to sell or lease goods or services in a public place that is not a store. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on November 15, 2016. Once the application period closes, DCA will assign each accepted application a non-transferable priority number (i.e., position) based on a computer-generated random number selection program. The order in which applications are submitted will not affect an applicant’s position on the waiting list. DCA will notify applicants in writing of their waiting list number and then contact them in order, as licenses become available, to submit a license application. The law, as established by the City Council, limits the number of non-veteran general vendor licenses to 853.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Used and Abused by the Used Car Industry:
Department of Consumer Affairs and Council Member Espinal Hold Hearing to Shine Light on Consumers Being Scammed Out of Millions

NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. today hosted a public hearing on predatory lending in the used car industry. From crushingly high interest rates to high-pressure sales tactics, consumers are being scammed out of millions of dollars. This hearing featured testimony from consumers who have been harmed, as well as national experts on predatory lending, who together demonstrated the scope of the problem, which will inform possible solutions at the local level. The hearing was hosted in Long Island City, where there is the largest concentration of licensed used car dealerships.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Deputy Mayor Richard Buery and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal Announce New Benefits for the IDNYC Program
New benefits focus on fitness and entertainment, and are a boon for New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds
Announcement is part of a Week of Action to encourage and help all New Yorkers enroll for IDNYC
By IDNYC’s second anniversary, de Blasio Administration aims to have one million New Yorkers become unique cardholders.

NEW YORK, NY—Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announced that the IDNYC program, the largest municipal ID program in the country, will now offer new fitness and entertainment benefits.

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Consumer Affairs Announces New, Expanded Mission that Reflects the Agency's Work to Protect and Enhance the Daily Economic Lives of New Yorkers
Commissioner Salas to Embark on a Community Listening Tour to Hear Directly from the Communities it Serves about Issues they Face
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the agency’s new, evolved mission—to protect and enhance the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. Under the de Blasio Administration, DCA’s work has expanded to include an increased focus on equitable enforcement coupled with business education, and—with paid sick leave, commuter benefits, the City’s new Office of Labor Policy and Standards, and today’s announcement of Fair Work Week legislation—ways to protect workers in New York City. DCA, which was established in 1969, has now evolved to stand at the nexus of consumers, businesses, and working families in New York City. With this added emphasis on the importance of communities, Commissioner Salas formally announced the new mission today at a City University of New York’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media Newsmakers Briefing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Council Members, Advocates Announce Plan to Ensure New York City's Fast Food Workers Are Protected by Fair Workweek Legislation
Tens of thousands of hourly workers in NYC lack predictable, stable and transparent work hours
Absence of fair scheduling makes planning for days and months ahead nearly impossible for working families
Mayor calls for advance notice and public posting of schedules; additional compensation for working unscheduled hours; addressing problems caused by “clopenings”

NEW YORK, NY—Today, standing outside of a McDonald’s in Brooklyn, Mayor Bill de Blasio, with elected officials, advocates and labor, announced support for the introduction of “Fair Workweek” legislation to ensure that 65,000 hourly employees in the fast food industry receive fair notification on their work hours. Currently, employers aren’t required to provide their hourly employees with advance notice of upcoming shifts. As a result, too many families cannot budget in advance, plan for education or family care, or secure a necessary second job.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
IDNYC, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Consumer Affairs, New York City Housing Authority, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and Amalgamated Bank Announce New IDNYC Pop-Up Enrollment Center in Red Hook, Brooklyn
The event is part of ongoing efforts to inform New Yorkers about IDNYC’s banking benefits
PHOTO OP —On Thursday, September 15 at 10:00 a.m., IDNYC, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and Amalgamated Bank will join to celebrate the opening of a new IDNYC pop-up enrollment center at the Red Hook Community Justice Center at 88 Visitation Place in Brooklyn, New York. The pop-up center opened September 12 and will operate until September 23, on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Expanding Administration's Labor Policy Efforts to Continue Supporting Caregivers
Also signs package of legislation coordinating efforts to address communities’ quality of life, and to support individuals released from prison
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed 10 pieces of legislation. Among the legislation signed were Intros. 1081-0A and 1084-A, two bills which will expand labor policy efforts to support caregivers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In Time for Labor Day, de Blasio Administration Announces Liz Vladeck as Head of New Office of Labor Policy and Standards
NEW YORK, NY—The de Blasio Administration today announced the appointment of Liz Vladeck, an experienced, highly respected labor lawyer and advocate, as Deputy Commissioner of the new Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS).

Thursday, August 18, 2016
First Comprehensive, Independent Evaluation of Nation’s Largest Municipal ID Program Shows IDNYC Necessity for New Yorkers
One in ten New Yorkers has an IDNYC; more than half of cardholders use IDNYC as primary form of identification
NEW YORK, NY—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio released the first comprehensive evaluation of IDNYC, New York City’s municipal identification program and the largest program of its kind in the country. The report confirms that IDNYC benefits every New York City resident, especially our most vulnerable communities. More than half of IDNYC’s 863,464 unique cardholders now use the card as their primary form of identification and over three-quarters of immigrants surveyed reported that the card increases their sense of belonging to the city.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Improving Transparency Regarding use of Force by Police Officers, Adding More Oversight to the Department of Probation
NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed nine pieces of legislation – Intros. 539-A, 606-B and 824-A, in relation to Police Department reporting; Intros. 1026-A and 1142-A, in relation to Department of Probation reporting; Intro. 1231, in relation to creating an exception to the rebuttal presumption applicable to vending tickets; Intro. 697-A, in relation to the regulation of laundries; Intro. 1169-A, in relation to conforming the New York City energy conservation code to the New York State energy conservation code; and Intro. 1227, in relation to the naming of 65 thoroughfares and public places in honor of public servants, servicemen and women, community advocates and others who have made an impact on New York City. The mayor also held a public hearing for Intro. 1063-A, in relation to requiring lactation rooms in certain locations providing services to the public.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Nation’s Top Ten Consumer Complaints
Phony IRS Agents and Other Imposter Scams Tops the List of Fastest-Growing Complaints
Washington, D.C.—Phony IRS agents and other imposter scams topped the list of fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies last year, according to the latest report from the annual survey conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). Thirty-three consumer agencies from twenty-one states participated in the survey, which asked about the most common complaints they received in 2015, the fastest-growing complaints, the worst complaints, new kinds of consumer problems, agencies’ biggest achievements and challenges, and new laws that are needed to better protect consumers.

Monday, July 11, 2016
A.G. Schneiderman Announces Lawsuit Against Alleged Unlicensed Employment Agency That Scammed Unemployed Consumers
NEW YORK, NY—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against New York City-based Delta Services, Inc. (“Delta”), its predecessor Ultimate Security Force, Inc. a/k/a U.S.F. (“Ultimate Security”), and their owner Jeffreys Paulino, for allegedly using phony job listings and false promises of employment to trick unemployed consumers into paying for expensive, and often unnecessary, security guard and other training courses. The Attorney General alleges that Delta, Ultimate Security, and Mr. Paulino have scammed hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers.

Thursday, July 7, 2016
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Launches New Effort with Community Groups to Measure and Improve Neighborhood Financial Health
NEW YORK, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the Collaborative for Neighborhood Financial Health, an initiative of DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to work on the community level, in collaboration with residents and community groups, to develop new approaches to empower residents to improve their financial health and stability. DCA OFE will lead teams of community partners in two neighborhoods—Bedford-Stuyvesant and East Harlem—to create a set of indicators to assess neighborhood financial health and then work with the community to develop a set of strategies, policies, programs and financial products that allow neighborhoods to build assets and empower their residents. The project also seeks to advance the understanding of the relationship between an individual’s financial health and the neighborhood in which he or she lives.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed six pieces of legislation – Intro. 871-A, in relation to ensuring equal access to single-occupant bathrooms for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers; Intro. 1149-A, in relation to requiring ticket sellers to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs; Intro. 868-A, in relation to issuing an annual report on the implementation of Next Generation 911; Intro. 851-B, in relation to protecting against the harassment of tenants who lease space for a commercial rather than residential nature; Intro. 775-A, in relation to creating timeframes for the landmark designation process; and Intro. 1223, in relation to reducing the use of carryout bags. The Mayor also held public hearings for Intros. 1122-A, 1123-A and 1128-A, in relation to increasing access to feminine hygiene products.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Executive Order No. 18
Transfer of Adjudications within the Jurisdiction of the Administrative Tribunal of the Department of Consumer Affairs to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings

Friday, May 20, 2016
Mayor de Blasio Appoints Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of Lorelei Salas as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the largest municipal consumer protection agency in the country. Salas in the past has been nominated by President Obama to be the Wage Hour Administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor and has long been an advocate for immigration, housing and employment services. In her new role as Commissioner, she also will oversee the Office of Labor Policy and Standards, a new division within DCA.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Protect Your Identity at DCA's 9th Annual Shred Fest
Department of Consumer Affairs Promotes Identity Theft Prevention by Assisting New Yorkers in Shredding their Personal Documents

PHOTO OP: On Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, starting at 10 a.m., the Department of Consumer Affairs hosts its ninth annual Shred Fest, a paper-shredding event at 10 locations across the city.

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today announced DCA’s ninth annual Shred Fest to help New Yorkers protect their identities. Shred Fest is a free paper-shredding citywide event that aims to increase public awareness about identity theft prevention. On Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., New Yorkers can shred their personal documents—mail, old bank statements, paycheck stubs, credit card applications, and more—for free at five locations each day throughout the five boroughs. At each location, documents will be shredded in industrial shredders with mounted TV monitors so consumers can verify that their personal materials have been properly and securely shredded. All shredded material is then securely disposed of and recycled. Shred Fest is hosted in cooperation with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYC Department of Sanitation, and Municipal Credit Union, with great support from Confidential Shredding, Data-Struction, Legal Shred, Lion Cage Shredding, Shred-Up, Time Shred Services, and USA Shred.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers Against Credit and Debit Card Fraud at ATM and Credit Card Machines
Identity thieves are increasingly using devices known as “skimmers” that attach to ATMs or credit card machines and steal consumers’ credit card and PIN numbers. The device is typically a simple plastic sheath placed over the card slot that appears to be part of the machine and that reads the magnetic strip on your card and then transmits the account information or saves it until the device is retrieved. Thieves may also use a concealed wireless camera on or near the ATM or card machine to capture your PIN as you enter it. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) offers these tips to protect yourself from card skimmers.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs, Elected Officials and Brighton Beach Business Improvement District Kick Off the First of DCA's 2016 Business Education Days in Brighton Beach
Inspectors Issue Advice, Not Violations, to Local Businesses
BROOKLYN—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, Brighton Beach Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Yelena Makhnin, staff from the office of Council Member Deutsch, NYC Small Business Services and NYC Department of Sanitation visited more than 100 businesses in the Brighton Beach community of Brooklyn as part of DCA’s 2016 Business Education Day series to educate businesses about key consumer protection laws and licensing requirements. DCA also shared information about the City’s Paid Sick Leave and Commuter Benefits laws.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and Health Commissioner Bassett Announce 85 Percent Reduction in K2 Related Emergency Visits
Decrease followed stricter City laws, multi-agency enforcement efforts, and public awareness campaign
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today announced an 85 percent decline in synthetic cannabinoid-related emergency department visits since July 2015, when the Health Department raised the alarm about a dangerous increase in the number of New Yorkers admitted in emergency rooms due to the use of this dangerous drug, commonly known as K2.

Friday, April 1, 2016
Two Years After Mayor de Blasio Expands Paid Sick Leave to One Million New Yorkers, City's Economy Stronger Than Ever
Department of Consumer Affairs secures more than $1.7 million in fines and restitution for nearly 9,600 New Yorkers
New York—Mayor Bill de Blasio and millions of New Yorkers across the five boroughs today celebrate the second anniversary of the City’s expanded Paid Sick Leave Law, which created the legal right to sick leave for 3.4 million private and nonprofit sector workers, nearly 1.2 million of whom did not previously have access to this vital workplace benefit. These employees can now take sick leave without fear of losing pay or their job, and nearly 9,600 employees have received restitution through the City’s enforcement of the Law.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Less Than One Month Until Tax Day: City Reminds Eligible New Yorkers to File Their Taxes for Free
First Lady Chirlane McCray encourages women, mothers across five boroughs to save money, claim tax credits at one of City’s over 200 free tax prep locations
Consumer Affairs launches community-based education effort to build on last year’s historic success connecting New Yorkers to free tax prep services

New York, NY—First Lady Chirlane McCray and Department of Consumer Affairs First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today remind New Yorkers that there is less than one month to file taxes before the April 18 deadline. They also encouraged New Yorkers, especially women and mothers across the five boroughs, who earn $62,000 or less to file their taxes for free using NYC Free Tax Prep. Studies show that women not only earn less than men but are more likely than men to be single parents with more complicated employment situations, positioning them to benefit most from free tax preparation and to claim important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC). The announcement coincides with the launch of the second phase of DCA’s public awareness campaign, which includes targeted community outreach.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Introduces Innovative Partnership with Employers to Integrate Free Tax Preparation Services into the Workplace
#VITAWorks: New York City is First in Nation to Partner Directly with Employers to Offer Free, Convenient Drop-Off Tax Preparation Services to Eligible Employees at Work
New York, NY—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico announced the expansion of its initiative supporting free tax preparation in New York City through the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to include partnerships with eight employers to make tax preparation more convenient for their employees by providing it at work. The employer-based VITA program, or NYC Free Tax Prep at Work, is the first program in the country to allow employees at partner organizations who earned $54,000 or less to file for free at work—at no cost to the employer—by using a convenient, drop-off service that takes just 20 minutes. As part of VITA Awareness Day 2016 (#VITAWorks), DCA highlights this innovative and convenient way to deliver VITA services.

Monday, March 14, 2016
Consulate General of Mexico, Department of Consumer Affairs and Citi Release New Report: Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera Provides Financial Education and Counseling to More Than 17,200 Mexican Nationals in New York City
NEW YORK - Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, Consul General of Mexico Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain and Citi Community Development released a report today, Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera: Program Insights for the Field, showing the results of the first year of the Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (Financial Empowerment Window).

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
National Consumer Protection Week: Department of Consumer Affairs Warns New Yorkers about Predatory Tax Preparer Tactics
The City Announces Results of Annual Tax Preparer Inspections and Encourages Eligible New Yorkers to File for Free
Federal, State and City Consumer Protection Authorities Recognize National Consumer Protection Week

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, issued a warning to New Yorkers about predatory tax preparer tactics, including overcharging, hidden fees and filing without permission. As part of the City’s annual tax preparer inspections, DCA conducted more than 350 targeted inspections citywide and issued violations to two in every five income tax preparers inspected. Top violations included failing to post prices for their services, misrepresenting their qualifications and violating other consumer rights. First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico also encouraged New Yorkers who earned $62,000 or less to take advantage of the City’s free tax preparation services. DCA made the announcement at a press conference with the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York, the New York State Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
America Saves Week: City Encourages New Yorkers to Use IDNYC to File Their Taxes for Free and Open a Bank Account to Save Their Refund
BRONX—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Alba Pico and Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Nisha Agarwal today joined Spring Bank President Eric Pallos and Ariva Executive Director Irene Baldwin to encourage New Yorkers to use their IDNYC to file their taxes for free and, as part of America Saves Week 2016, open a bank account where they can save their refund.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Consumer Alert: Consumer Affairs Warns Parents to Secure Video Baby Monitors
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today warned parents to take the necessary steps to ensure that their internet-connected baby monitors are not vulnerable to privacy or security risks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Department of Consumer Affairs Kicks Off the Tax Season with Free Tax Prep and a New Ad Campaign
New Yorkers Earning $62,000 or Less Can File for Free at More Than 200 Sites Citywide or Online
NEW YORK—Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today kicked off the tax season with the launch of the agency’s annual tax credit campaign. The campaign, timed to coincide with the first day the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepts returns, features new advertisements and reflects the City’s continued commitment to enable New Yorkers who earn $62,000 or less to file their taxes for free using the City’s tax preparation services.

Monday, January 4, 2016
Mayor de Blasio, Senator Schumer, Commissioners Menin and Trottenberg Remind Employers, Straphangers - Commuter Benefits Law in Effect as of January 1
City mandating employers with at least 20 full-time employees offer pre-tax commuter savings program, saving straphangers up to $800 a year
Commuters can now use up to $255 pre-tax income per month for transit expenses thanks to recent federal action

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Senator Charles Schumer, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and local elected officials today took to the subway terminal at Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center to remind New Yorkers that the City’s Commuter Benefits Law is now in effect as of January 1, 2016.