A Window into the Aftermath of ID Theft

Since 2003, the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has surveyed individuals who have sought its counseling for identity theft problems to ask them how their stolen information was fraudulently used and how the crime affected them. This year’s report, Identity Theft: the Aftermath 2016™, is even more revealing than previous ones because the ITRC … Continued

Why Consumers Demand and Need Strong Broadband Privacy Now

This op-ed originally appeared on Morning Consult. As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote on its proposed broadband privacy rules, internet service providers that would be covered by them and “edge providers” such as Google, which would not be directly affected but are concerned about the precedent that would be set, are stepping up … Continued

CFAnews Update – October 4, 2016

Wells Fargo Scandal Spotlights Need for an Independent Watchdog The recent Wells Fargo scandal involving the creation of millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts has highlighted the need for a tough and independent watchdog to oversee financial institutions. The accounts were created by employees so they could collect incentive bonuses for cross-selling, a … Continued

Lock Down Your Login to Protect Your Online Accounts 

The massive Yahoo data breach is a vivid reminder that our online accounts are rich targets for hackers. They’re looking for personal information that can be fraudulently used to take over our accounts, open new accounts in our names, steal our tax refunds, apply for jobs or government benefits, or send spam to our contacts. … Continued

What Yahoo Users Should Do in the Face of Massive Data Breach

The news that at least half a billion Yahoo accounts have been affected by a data breach –and that the company took two years to publicly acknowledge this – is very distressing, and not only to Yahoo users. It makes us wonder if we can ever rely on anyone who has our personal information to … Continued

Preventing Mass Mailing Fraud

With so many warnings about Internet fraud these days it’s easy to forget that some scammers are still using the mail to try to reach into our wallets – and succeeding. Americans are receiving tons of bogus solicitations in their mailboxes and losing millions. That’s why CFA has joined other organizations and government agencies in … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 20, 2016

Consumer Groups Urge Congress to Reject Trans-Pacific Partnership Citing its potential to undermine important consumer protections, CFA and Consumers Union wrote to members of Congress earlier this month urging them to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it comes up for a vote this year or in the future in its current form. “While we recognize … Continued

So You’ve Had a Data Breach, Now What?

Companies, organizations and agencies that hold and transmit people’s personal information should keep it reasonably secure from unauthorized access and use. But what if there is a data breach that exposes the information? How should the breached entity help those affected? Should it offer them identity theft services? If so, how should it choose the … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 19, 2016

New Truck Fuel Economy Standards Will Save Consumers Money The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new efficiency and emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles this week that CFA predicts will save consumers money. “We urged the agencies to set standards that would achieve meaningful fuel economy … Continued

Don’t Be Bamboozled By These Fast Growing Consumer Cons

The Consumer Federation of America and North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the top 10 consumer complaints state and local consumer protection agencies around the country received in 2015. Three types of complaints stood out as the fastest-growing last year. Be on the lookout for these popular problems to protect yourself and your family: … Continued

Alerting Taxpayers to Possible ID Theft

In the identity theft complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, the most common use of victims’ stolen information was to commit tax or wage fraud. What’s even more alarming is the upward trajectory of this type of fraud, from 32.8 percent of identity theft cases reported in 2014 to 45.3 percent in … Continued

Top Ten Consumer Problems of 2015

Have you ever received an unexpected call from the IRS, a utility company, or tech support demanding immediate payment or your personal information? “Don’t assume that it’s true,” says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Imposter scams were the fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 26, 2016

Industry Considers Update of Voluntary Window Covering Standard The Window Covering Manufacturing Association (WCMA) announced last month that it has initiated the process of opening up and updating the voluntary safety standard for window coverings, which includes window blinds and shades. Safety advocates have long sought action to reduce the toll of deaths and injuries … Continued

The Way that Multi-level Marketing Should Work

The settlement with Herbalife that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently achieved is a big win for consumers who paid hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for a money-making opportunity that in many cases failed to pan out. But we also hope that the restructuring that the Herbalife agreed to make to its operations will serve … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 14, 2016

House Passes Appropriations Bill That Would Undermine Consumer Protections The House of Representatives voted along largely party lines earlier this month to approve a Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5485), which rolls back important consumer protections and undermines the ability of crucial agencies to fulfill their missions of protecting consumers and investors. … Continued

CFAnews Update – June 29, 2016

CFPB Urged to Close Loopholes in Payday, Car Title Rule Representatives of leading consumer, community, religious and civil rights organizations, including Consumer Federation of America, issued a joint statement last week, urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to close some “concerning loopholes” in the payday and car title loan rule proposals that could allow … Continued

CFAnews Update – June 13, 2016

CFPB Proposes Rule to Stop Payday and Car Title Loan Debt Traps The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a rule last week to end payday debt traps by requiring lenders to take steps to make sure consumers can repay their loans. The rule would cover payday loans, auto title loans, deposit advance products, and … Continued

Profiting Off Disaster

Earlier this week, National Public Radio and PBS Frontline aired powerful and distressing reports on the state of the National Flood Insurance Program. The programs focused on two key aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the wake of Superstorm Sandy: claims handling and insurance company profits. Watch the PBS Frontline program. Listen … Continued

CFAnews Update – May 24, 2016

CFPB Proposes to Restore Consumers’ Right to Join Class Actions Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced proposed rules to prohibit bans on class action lawsuits in consumer financial product contracts.  Class action bans, generally buried within forced arbitration clauses requiring consumers to waive their right to go to court if a … Continued

Illinois Considers Banning Credit Report Information in Auto Insurance Pricing

The Illinois Senate Insurance Committee held a subject matter hearing on SB 2208 earlier this month, which prohibits the use of consumer’s credit information or credit report to calculate auto insurance rates. State and national consumer groups Citizen Action Illinois, Woodstock Institute, Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union testified at the hearing urging lawmakers … Continued

CFAnews Update – April 27, 2016

CFPB Documents Need for Stronger Payday Loan Protections By illustrating the harm caused when payday lenders use direct access to a borrowers’ bank account to collect payments – including frequent, high overdraft fees and even account closure – a new report released last week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) documents the need for … Continued

Why We Need a Stronger ROBOCOP on the Beat

Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union have endorsed a new bill offered by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), the Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones (ROBOCOP) Act. The legislation aims to provide consumers with better protection from illegal robocalls and fake Caller ID. These aren’t merely annoying – they are used by unscrupulous businesses … Continued

CFAnews Update – April 6, 2016

DOL Adopts Landmark Protections for Retirement Savers Earlier today the Department of Labor announced that it had finalized long-awaited rules to strengthen protections for workers and retirees who turn to financial professionals for advice on how best to save and investment for retirement.  Years in the making, the rules require all financial professionals to act … Continued

Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: Maryland’s Discriminatory Car Insurance Scheme

Car insurance should be priced to reflect the risk of the driver getting into an accident. But in Maryland, insurance companies use non-driving related factors — including education, occupation, marital status, homeownership and credit — to set the rate that a driver pays for insurance. This allows them to determine who might be a more … Continued