Consumer Protection Branch

Consumer Information


The consumer information links noted below exist to assist consumers locate information that may be useful to them and provide guidance in how to file complaints when appropriate.

Has anyone promised to help you get your money back? If so, please click here:

DOJ Consumer FraudConsumer Fraud (DOJ/Criminal Division/Fraud Section)

A series of subjects can be searched for from this website such as Internet Fraud, Telemarketing Fraud, Identity Theft, and other fraud related subjects.

DOJ Consumer Fraud Odometer Tampering

When buying a used motor vehicle, take steps to ensure that the mileage on the odometer is the actual mileage of the vehicle. Suggested steps you can take to protect yourself are available here. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation has a consumer-friendly web page with information on how to obtain information relating to used motor vehicles and what to do if you believe you are a victim of odometer tampering.

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate. The IC3 was intended, and continues to emphasize, serving the broader law enforcement community to include federal, as well as state, local, and international agencies, which are combating Internet crime and, in many cases, participating in Cyber Crime Task Forces.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center

You can file a complaint with the FTC against a company or organization that you believe has cheated you by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone: toll free 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or through the Internet, using the FTC's online complaint form. Complaint information is entered into the FTC's Consumer Sentinel system for use by law enforcement agencies, plus consumers can access the public portion of Consumer Sentinel for important consumer tips and fraud trends. Although the Commission cannot resolve individual problems for consumers, complaints to the FTC help it investigate fraud, and can lead to enforcement action by the FTC or another agency. Additionally, the FTC provides consumer information on a wide variety of matters covering topics such as automobiles, credit, identity theft, and investments.

The FTC also issued a press release on July 1, 2009, at http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/07/shortchange.shtm, that references a crack down on scammers dubbed "Operation Short Change" and includes a public education video entitled "Fraud: An Inside Look," featuring a reformed biz-op defendant, to help consumers steer clear of business opportunity fraud.

FirstGov FirstGov (Your First Click to the U.S. Government)

"FirstGov" is a US government website. It is a self-described "easy-to-search, free-access website designed to give [consumers] a centralized place to find information from local, state, and U.S. Government Agency websites." It searches by audience, topic and service, then identifies, via links, government agencies or materials that may be of help to you.

If consumers encounter difficulty using FirstGov they may wish to contact the National Contact Center, http://www.info.gov/ which specializes in direct telephone assistance to callers who are trying to locate information in any format on Federal agencies, programs and services. Consumers may call the toll-free number at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Users of text telephones, TTY/TDD, should call 1-800-326-2996.

For consumer publications, go to http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov where you can download or order publications on a wide variety of consumer topics and access the Consumer Action Handbook.

Consumer Action Handbook Consumer Action Handbook

The Consumer Action Handbook, available at the Consumer Action Website through the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) is valuable information that no consumer should be without. It provides advice and consumer tips on: car repair, purchase, and leasing; shopping from home; avoiding consumer and investment fraud; home improvement and financing; choosing and using credit cards wisely; and much more. Also included is the Consumer Assistance Directory with thousands of names, addresses, telephone numbers, web site and e-mail addresses for national consumer organizations, better business bureaus, corporations, trade associations, state and local consumer protection offices, state agencies, military consumer offices, and Federal agencies. The FCIC also maintains the National Contact Center which provides access to useful consumer information plus links to federal and state agencies. For consumers with questions, the National Contact Center has a toll-free contact number, 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636) , available between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Other helpful links:

CIA World Factbook
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
Provides detailed information for (most) countries, territories, and provinces in the world.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
http://www.fdic.gov

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
http://www.fhfa.gov/

GPO Access
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/
GPO Access is a service of the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides free electronic access to a wealth of important and official information products produced by the Federal Government.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC – Help With My Bank)
http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/
Website maintained by the OCC that provides answers to National Banking questions.

OnGuard Online
http://www.onguardonline.gov
“OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help individuals be on guard against Internet fraud, by showing people how to secure their computers, and protect personal information. This site is maintained by the FTC with significant contributions from U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, the Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Commerce, Securities and Exchange Commission, among various other governmental and private bodies.”

Recovery.Gov
http://www.recovery.gov/
Goals:
- Education: Explain the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act;
- Transparency: Show how, when, and where the money is spent;
- Accountability: Provide data that will allow citizens to evaluate the Act’s progress and provide feedback.”

Thomas
http://thomas.loc.gov/
Maintained by the Library of Congress, Thomas provides access to federal legislative information freely available to the public (including bills, resolutions activity in congress, congressional record schedules, calendars, committee information, presidential nominations, treaties, and government resources).

Uncle Sam
http://www.google.com/unclesam
Google search engine that is limited specifically to government-related web pages.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
http://www.hud.gov/
HUD's mission is to “increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.”

HUD Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure
http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/index.cfm

HUD Foreclosure Resources by State
http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/local.cfm

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan
http://www.financialstability.gov
Information about the Financial Stability Plan (designed to “stabilize the financial system and get lending flowing again”).

Hope Now
http://www.hopenow.com/
“An alliance between HUD approved counseling agents, mortgage companies, investors and other mortgage market participants that provides free foreclosure prevention assistance.”

US Department of Labor (Occupational Outlook Handbook)
http://www.bls.gov/OCO/
Published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this handbook provides information regarding the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, work conditions, and job expectations for hundreds of different jobs.

US Department of the Treasury
http://www.ustreas.gov/

US House
http://www.house.gov/

US Senate
http://www.senate.gov/

US Supreme Court
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/

White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

 

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Updated October 20, 2014

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