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8 Online Resources to Fight Back and Protect Yourself from Scams

by on March 5, 2012

In honor of the fourteenth annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), the experts at PowerWallet are dedicating this week’s blog posts to helping you become more informed about how to protect yourself from scams.  Every year, millions of Americans fall prey to false advertising, unethical debt relief scams, identity theft and more – that is why it is so important to be informed about not only types of deceptive and fraudulent practices that could happen to you  but what resources you can turn to to fight back.

As the start of NCPW, learn and bookmark these 8 online resources that every consumer should know to protect themselves and fight back deceptive practices:

1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — The FTC is a national government agency that is dedicated to fighting for and protection Americans.  If you are scammed whether it be a mortgage refinance scam or untrue advertising practices, utilize the FTC and file a complaint.  The FTC will conduct an investigation and get justice for you.

2. Internet Crime Complaint Center – This resource offers education about how to avoid online scams.  The ICCC was formed as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).  At this website, you can file a claim about an online Internet crime.

3. Phonebusters, Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre – This online resource discusses scams coming from Canada. On this website, you can learn how to recognize a scam from Canada as well as how to report it and stop it from happening to anyone else.

4. Identity Theft Assistance Center – Use this website to protect yourself from one of the most common scams, online identity theft.  This website is a host of various tools, educational resources and tips that you can use to protecting yourself from and resolve credit problems.

5. U.S. Department of State Scam Alerts – This is a great educational resource that everyone should sign up for. You can get the latest news regarding international scams and can report to their Internet Crime Complaint Center.

6. Econsumer.gov – This is a portal for cross-border consumer complaints regarding foreign online retailers. Millions of Americans every year are scammed by foreign companies and this is the proper government agency to use that will assist you in recovering your lost funds and receiving justice.   Also check this site to stay up-to-date on the latest foreign e-commerce scam news.

7. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – This new government agency created under President Obama in the past year is dedicated to helping consumers who were taken advantage of or scammed by a financial company in the United States.

8. Better Business Bureau – Before using any service or product that you are unfamiliar with, do your research. Use the BBB to view reviews, complaints and research that the BBB has done on the company. The BBB is a public forum where consumers can come and post their problems or satisfactions with any American business.  The BBB gives every organization a letter grade rating from A+ to F – this will help you make an educated decision about what products and services to use.

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