The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) observes National Consumer Protection Week, the first full week in March. Protecting consumers is hugely important as a fellow consumer, daily money manager, and professional organizer.
Many resources are available to consumers to help ensure you’re safe from scams, fraud, and other nefarious plots.
Federal Trade Commission Alerts
Sign up for the FTC’s alert emails to receive up-to-date information on the latest scams and get their blog delivered right to your inbox! And because it’s the FTC, your email will not be sold to any third parties.
Consumer Federation of America
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) aims to promote consumer protection, access to affordable and safe products and services, and a fair marketplace for all consumers. The CFA works to achieve its goals by advocating for stronger consumer protections in public policy and working with industry leaders to promote better consumer practices. It also conducts research and provides educational resources to help consumers make informed decisions about their purchases and financial transactions. Their website is a wealth of knowledge and information to help you educate yourself.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The agency’s mission is to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by financial service providers, such as banks, credit unions, lenders, and debt collectors. The CFPB’s responsibilities include enforcing federal consumer financial laws, regulating financial institutions, and educating consumers about financial products and services. The agency also collects complaints from consumers and works to resolve them.
Check out all the CFPB’s resources to be sure you’re getting treated fairly.
State Advocate Offices
Each state has a department that works to protect consumer rights. State advocate offices are government agencies tasked with protecting the interests of consumers in regulated industries. These offices serve as an independent voice for consumers, advocating for fair and reasonable rates, safe and reliable services, and adequate consumer protections. If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, reach out and report it. These offices may be able to help catch the culprit and possibly recoup some of your losses.
National Association of Consumer Advocates
Every consumer has basic rights. Learn more about them, and find an attorney if you think yours have been violated with help from the National Association of Consumer Advocates. NACA’s mission is to advocate for consumers harmed by abusive and deceptive business practices, including unfair debt collection, predatory lending, illegal credit reporting, and other forms of consumer fraud. The organization’s members include attorneys, consumer advocates, and other professionals committed to fighting for the rights of consumers.
There are many other resources, but those listed above are the first line of defense. If you contact them, they may refer you to other agencies or resources that can better help you.
As with anything, the best defense is a good offense. So arm yourself with knowledge and use critical thinking with your buying power.