Federal Reserve heads to theaters

Institution plans PSA about foreclosure scams

Moviegoers plunking down in their seats will soon be greeted with a message from an unlikely source: The Federal Reserve.

The institution plans to run a public service announcement in theaters warning of foreclosure scams, including those that purport to offer information for a fee even though it is readily available for free from consumer groups and the federal government. 

Starting on April 10, the 30-second PSAs will run before trailers in 28 theaters in 14 cities hit hard by foreclosures. The spots, which will run for seven days, warn audiences, “Don’t be taken advantage of. It shouldn’t hurt to get help.” They direct consumers to go to federalreserve.gov and click on “Five Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams.”

After reports of an uptick in fraudulent activity via telemarketing, the Internet and infomercials, the Federal Reserve decided to run the spots in theaters because it allowed them to target consumers in a more creative way than on TV, where PSAs are often relegated to latenight purgatory, a source with the Fed says. They will run in California, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia.

The Fed is paying $9,000 to show the spots in the theaters. They have run PSAs before on radio and TV in the late 1990s featuring then-chairman Alan Greenspan offering information about financial education.

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