Consumer Protection

Whether you need to verify a state or local licensing company or to learn more about scams, there are many government resources available to help.   Listed below are several of these resources designed to help protect consumers from fraud and scams. 

USA.gov

This portal links to a number of Consumer Protection websites.  While more direct ways of accessing the sites are explored in the other listings provided, this portal covers a broad range of topics and is worth exploring.

To register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry:

  • Cick on “Register Your Phone Number on the National Do Not Call Registry”. 
  • Enter up to three phone numbers and your e-mail address in the form provided.
  • Click submit.  Make sure to review your form for errors. 
  • Finally click on Register. 
  • You will receive a confirmation e-mail from Register@donotcall.gov.  Open this e-mail and click on the link to complete your registration.

To check a state or local licensing company:

  • Click on Be a Smart Consumer.
  • Click on Quick Consumer Tips. 
  • Click on State or Local Licensing Agency.
  • Click on California. 
  • Scroll down to California Department of Consumer Affairs and click on Verify a License. 
  • Select a license type and enter the appropriate information in the form provided.

To learn about particular consumer frauds and scams, click on Consumer Frauds and Scams, then scroll down to Current Scams You Should be Aware Of.

The Consumer Action Handbook is also available on this site and is filled with much useful information.  Click on NEW! Read the Consumer Action Handbook Online.

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection

On this site you will find many publications designed to help consumers avoid fraud.

To find publications:

  • Click on the Consumer Protection tab. 
  • Scroll down to What’s New for the most recent publications then click on the one you want to read or scroll further down the page and click on Other Publications. 
  • On the left side of the page you will see a listing of Consumer Categories.  Hold your mouse over each category for more subcategories (ie: Telemarketing & Telephone Services. You can also reach the National Do Not Call Registry through this section).
  • Click on the sub category for the publication you want to read (ie: Telemarketing Scams).

California Department of Consumer Affairs: Consumer Protection Information for Seniors

On this web page you will find information about scams targeting seniors .

To determine if a charity is legitimate:

  • Scroll down to Check Out Charities Before You Give. 
  • Click on the link for http://oag.ca.gov/charities to link to the California Department of Justice’s Charities Research Tool.
  • Scroll down to Charity Research Tool and click on A Searchable Database. 
  • Type the organization name, city, and any other relevant information on the form provided. 
  • Click on Search to determine if the charity is legitimate.

You can also access The Department of Consumer Affair’s License Lookup on the website by scrolling down to California Department of Consumer Affairs Resources for Seniors and clicking on License and Complaint History.

California Department of Consumer Affairs: Scam Buster Kit for Seniors

You can access the Scam Buster Kit directly from the URL listed above.  Within the kit you will find information about auto repair, in-home services, tips for avoiding identity theft, information about hiring contractors, facts about telemarketing, and information about prescription drugs.  Much of the kit is available in Chinese and Spanish and some sections are also available in  Korean and Vietnamese.

FBI

This website lists the various telemarketing, internet, investment and mail scams as well as scams targeting seniors.  Click on Scams and Safety, then Common Fraud Schemes.  Chose a particular topic or scam to learn more.

United States Postal Inspection Service

This site provides much information about illegal telemarketing, identity theft, and current mail fraud scams.         

To learn more about scams, hold your mouse over Investigations, scroll down to Mail Fraud and then click on Mail Fraud Schemes.  Here you will find information about Employment Fraud, Financial Fraud, Fraud Against Older Americans, Sweepstakes and Lottery Fraud, Telemarketing Fraud, and Other Types of Fraud.

If you have been or believe you have been a victim of mail fraud, identity theft, vandalism, mail theft, or tampering you can file a complaint through this siteHold your mouse over Contact Us near the top of the page, click on File a complaint then click on the type of complaint you’d like to file.