It’s National Consumer Protection Week (#NCPW2018) — March 4-10, 2018 — and I wanted to shed some light on the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer resources. The FTC is a national consumer protection agency with great resources to help you protect yourself from fraud, identity theft, and scams. Maybe you’re wondering about the best way to use credit, how to shop for a used car, or maximize your security online? They help with that too.
Consumer protection was one of my favorite topics to study during my graduate degree (NERD ALERT!). Growing up my mom had taught me by example that it was possible to stick up for yourself as a consumer while still being kind to the person responsible for helping you (i.e. store clerk, waitress, doctor, wireless company, etc.). Learning more about consumer protection in school (shopping and saving, buying and owning a vehicle, credit and loans, dealing with debt, resolving consumer problems, etc.) solidified what I had learned from her.
I follow the FTC’s consumer blog (www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog) to stay up to date on the latest scams on everything from debt collection to identity theft. When I get a fishy phone call, piece of mail or see a strange social media advertisement, I report it on the FTC’s Complaint Assistant website. If I have a question about a financial topic I’ll search it on www.consumer.ftc.gov first, before looking to other sources that may be less credible.
I hope these resources can help you make better-informed decisions about money. If you have any consumer protection-related questions about scams or identity theft leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer!