National Consumer Protection Week, which ran from March 5-11, helps consumers understand their rights, what steps they can take if they feel they have been scammed and how best to recover from identity theft or consumer fraud.
The following agencies provide valuable resources at no charge:
- Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is able to take legal action against a business and develop policies that help maintain a fair business environment. Its website offers a plethora of information to assist consumers in resolving problems, including credit and loans, dealing with debt, privacy, identity theft, disputing credit card charges and more. Find them at: consumer.ftc.gov.
- Florida Office of the Attorney General: The AG's Office is an enforcing authority of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The office investigates and files civil actions against persons who engage in unfair methods of competition, unfair, unconscionable or deceptive trade practices, such as pyramid schemes, travel scams, fraudulent telemarketing, and false or misleading advertising. Its website provides useful tools and tips to protect consumers from fraud and can be found at: myfloridalegal.com.
- Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: The office receives and administers consumer complaints and regulates various industries, including but not limited to sellers of travel, telemarketers and charities. Check out its website at: 800helpfla.com for an easy to use A to Z Resource Guide to find the most appropriate place to turn for problems, complaints or concerns.
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: FINRA is responsible for making sure financial advisors and brokers act ethically and fairly with customers and are properly licensed. Senior investors with questions about their brokerage account statements or concerns that their account may have been mishandled by a broker can call the FINRA Securities helpline at 844-574-3577.
- Lee County Sheriff's Office: The LCSO fraud line provides consumers with valuable safety tips and educational tools to keep them from becoming a victim of a fraud, scam or identity theft. Crime prevention specialists are available to speak to groups or organizations on a variety of topics that can be found at: sheriffleefl.org. Contact the fraud line at 239-258-3292 or the Community Relations Unit at 239-258-3280.
For more information, visit online at: NCPW.gov.
Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office