The Federal Trade Commission offers general information on a number of
topics through the Bureau of
Consumer Protection. You can find information about buying a car,
credit and loans, health scams, and
The Federal government also provides an alphabetical list of consumer
protection resources here.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) answers questions and handles complaints about consumer financial products or services. If you have issues with your credit card, mortgage, credit reporting, bank account or service, private student loans, or other consumer loans, submit a complaint here or call toll free at (855) 411-CFPB (2372). The CFPB can assist over the phone in more than 180 languages.
CFPB Mortgage Help
CFPB for Students and Young Americans
CFPB for Older Americans
CFPB for Servicemembers:
Ask the CFPB
How do I sign up for the Do Not Call
The Do Not Call Registry allows you to limit the telemarketing calls you
receive. Telemarketers covered by the registry cannot call registered
phone numbers. You can find out more information about the registry
Sign up for the Do Not Call
How do I report phone fraud?
Phone fraud and violations of the Do Not Call registry are policed by the
Federal Trade Commission. You can get tips on recognizing phone fraud
here. To report phone fraud,
call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC
If you have been on the Do Not Call registry for 31 days and continue to
receive telemarketing calls, you can report the calls here.
Please note the date you received the call and either the name or the
telephone number of the company that called you.
How do I stop spam e-mail?
Spam e-mail is a nuisance and can contain viruses that are dangerous to
your computer. OnGuard Online
provides tips from the federal government and the technology industry to
protect your computer and your personal information. The Federal Trade
Commission provides additional help for consumers on its Spam website.
You can find more information and up-to-date consumer alerts on spam
How can I get a free credit
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer
reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide you
with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once a year.
You can order your free annual credit report online at annualcreditreport.com
or by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual
Credit Report Request Form [PDF] and mailing it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
is the ONLY free credit report site that is authorized by the government.
Other websites claim to offer reports for free, but require that you
purchase other products.
How can I prevent identity
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying
information without your permission to commit fraud and other crimes. As
many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
It is possible to minimize
your risk by protecting your personal information.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your
Social Security number on your checks, and give out your Social Security
number only when absolutely necessary. Whenever possible, ask to use
another type of identifier.
- Shred documents with identifying information, like credit
applications, insurance forms, bank statements, credit card offers, and
receipts before you throw them away. You can opt out of receiving
pre-screened credit offers in the mail by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT
(1-888-567-8688). Take outgoing mail with personally-identifying
information, like bills, to the post office rather than leaving them in
an unsecured mailbox.
- Avoid internet scams by visiting OnGuard Online.
- Use intricate passwords for your online accounts. Avoid using easily
available information like you mother’s maiden name, your birth date,
part of your Social Security number, or a single word that appears in the
dictionary. Instead, combine letters, numbers, and special characters to
make strong passwords.
- Do not give out personal information unless you know who you are
dealing with. Search online to verify that organizations are legitimate.
If you receive a call from a bank or company that asks for account
information, ask if you can call them back at the customer service number
listed on your account statement or in the phone book.
- Store information in secure locations at home and keep your purse or
wallet secure at work. Ask about security information at your workplace
or at businesses, doctor’s offices, and other institutions that collect
your personal information.
- Regularly monitor your financial statements and credit reports for
inaccurate information or suspicious activity, like charges for
merchandise or services you did not purchase.
What are the signs of identity
- Accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you cannot
- Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports
- Failing to receive bills or other mail. Follow up with creditors if
your bills do not arrive on time.
- Receiving credit cards when you didn’t apply
- Being denied credit or being offered less favorable terms for no
- Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about
merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
What do I do if my information has
Recovering from identity theft can be a difficult process. You can find
the step-by-step process to file police reports, notify the Federal Trade
Commission, and resolve disputes with companies and credit reporting
Remember to keep detailed records of your correspondence to protect you
in the future.
Where can I find more resources
about identity theft?