The City of Jackson is Enabling Residents to Achieve Financial Success by Raising Awareness on Consumer Protection Tactics

August 28, 2023

As part of a grant secured by the City of Jackson’s Office of Innovation, the City’s Office of Financial Empowerment is launching a community awareness campaign to help our residents identify the signs of fraud and scams.

"This is one of several programs the City of Jackson is facilitating through a partnership with Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund that will help people gain control of their financial success and start to build wealth,” said Mayor Scott Conger. “When 14% of Madison County residents live in poverty, it affects everyone. As a former CEO of United Way of West Tennessee, I understand the vital importance of financial empowerment in order for individuals, families and communities to thrive.”

Recognize signs of scams in West Tennessee by doing the following:

  • Be aware of anyone requesting money urgently, even if it is supposed to be for family members.
  • Be cautious about Social Security overpayment notifications.
  • Research contractors and ask for referrals to avoid contractor fraud.

Other tips for consumer protection include:

  • Never give personal info out over the phone or via email when you did not initiate the contact.
  • Never cash or deposit a check or money order from unknown sources.

“Some may think that these suggestions are common sense, but that is not always true for individuals who are less familiar with technology. Namely, our senior population, residents who do not use technology often, and more trusting individuals are being taken advantage of at an increasingly alarming rate. These are real people who live in our city… our family, friends, and neighbors,” said Christiana Gallagher, Director of Jackson’s Office of Financial Empowerment.

“Research shows that there is a significant portion of the population who will become victims of these scams and fraudsters. I have witnessed the life-changing effects of these deceptions firsthand working in the banking industry right here in Jackson. Unfortunately, financial exploitation is not going anywhere… fraud will only get more convincing as technology advances. Our goal is to help people identify the signs of popular schemes so that they can protect their assets and build or maintain financial stability. Your loved one could be a phishing phone call or text message away from devastating financial hardship or even poverty. I have seen it happen many times.”

If you feel you have been a victim of fraud, deceptive business practices, or would like to report a scammer, contact the City of Jackson’s Office of Financial Empowerment. Director Christiana Gallagher can be reached at 731-422-7034 or

Initiatives such as these originated in 2019 when City of Jackson Mayor Scott Conger established the Anti-Poverty Task Force to reduce poverty and enhance quality of life. In October 2020, the City of Jackson applied for and received the competitive CityStart grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. Jackson was one of five localities to receive the planning grant and used the funds to identify strategies that would financially empower residents. This strategic plan is a part of the City Start Blueprint that resulted from those efforts. Other successful initiatives that came from this plan include the Financial Empowerment Center at United Way that provides free financial counseling to West Tennessee residents. To learn more about what the City of Jackson is doing to fight poverty through financial literacy, visit

Office of Financial Empowerment

The Office of Financial Empowerment manages existing and launches new financial empowerment programs and initiatives. This office serves as the City of Jackson’s internal financial empowerment consultant, brings financial stability lens to a range of related issues, and leverages its leadership role to ensure financial empowerment is central to local anti-poverty efforts.

The purpose of the Office of Financial Empowerment is to expand access to safe and affordable credit and banking products, increase access to one-on-one financial counseling and coaching services, expand community wealth-building strategies, and identify policy and programmatic barriers to improving financial stability.

Jackson's Financial Empowerment Center

Jackson's Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) offers professional, no-cost, one-on-one financial counseling to all Jackson and West Tennessee residents (18 years +). There are no income or program requirements to qualify for its services. Clients will be given access to tools that can improve their financial stability and achieve their goals. The services offered include helping residents with: creating a budget, managing finances, increasing savings, maximizing cash flow, establishing/building credit, managing debt, connecting with safe and affordable banking services, and more. The FEC is jointly managed by United Way, City of Jackson, and Cities for Financial Empowerment.

Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s mission is to leverage municipal engagement to improve the financial stability of low- and moderate-income households by embedding financial empowerment strategies into local government infrastructure. The Fund works with mayoral administrations and those interested in supporting them to implement innovative programs and policies—and measures its success accordingly. The Fund’s four key disciplines include asset building, banking access, consumer financial protection and financial education counseling. To learn more, visit