Kidnapping Scams and How to Spot Them!

An Ohio mom drops her son off at a sleep-over camp in Pennsylvania. The next day, she answers her cell and hears a weeping child say, “Mom, Mom, you have to help me.” Between sobs, he tells her that he’s been beaten up and has been taken to a warehouse. Then a man gets on … Continued

How to Stay Safe when Shopping Online

Online shopping: we all do it. It’s easy, convenient and often more affordable. It’s also just as easy and convenient for fraudsters to steal your hard-earned money or information on the web. No matter what site you’re using to shop, there is always a risk of your information being compromised or buying from an untrustworthy … Continued

Exercising Your Rights: Gym Membership Cancellation

It’s January and you’re looking to start the year off right with a tried and true New Year’s resolution: Go to the gym. By March, you may not be as dedicated to keeping that resolution or going to the gym at all. So, after much alarm-snoozing and rationalization, it’s time to cancel your gym membership. … Continued

GSE Reform Shuffles to the Exits

More than a decade after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship at the height of the financial crisis, the Trump Administration’s Treasury Department on September 5 released its long-awaited report on mortgage finance reform.  Importantly, the report endorses a government role in supporting long term fixed rate mortgages and a federal guarantee … Continued

Review Bots: False Advertising or Opinion Spam?

Bots are computer programs that account for roughly 48% of all traffic to thousands of websites. Whether consumers are faced with good bots (e.g., indexing sites for Google) or bad bots (e.g., SPAM bots) matters greatly to consumer choice and purchasing behavior. According to a Nielsen study, two-thirds of consumers say they trust user reviews … Continued

CFAnews Update – September 5, 2019

Foodborne Illness Investigation Exposes Weakness in Meat and Poultry Inspection System A recent outbreak of multi-drug resistant Salmonella Newport has drawn attention to fatal flaws in the nation’s meat and poultry inspection system. The outbreak has resulted in at least 60 hospitalizations and two deaths so far. Weak regulations hamper authorities’ ability to identify and … Continued

Is Leasing A Car Right For You?

Leasing a car simply means that you have the right to use it for an agreed number of months and miles. Leasing is not buying! One of the attractions of leasing a car is that the amounts of your down payment and monthly payments are typically lower than if you borrow to purchase a similar … Continued

Timeshare Scams and How to Avoid Them

You want to sell your timeshare, but have been unsuccessful. The reality is that the market is flooded and any potential sale may come at a financial loss. Naturally, an offer from a “timeshare reseller” who promises an immediate, lucrative sale is hard to resist – and scammers know it. Learn how to spot and … Continued

Checklist for Preparing To Buy a Used Car

When you are buying a used car, getting the answers to these questions before you commit can save you money and aggravation down the road. Am I choosing a reputable dealer? Research consumer complaints with your state’s Attorney General’s Office (found through www.naag.org) and the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), and through internet searches. Is the … Continued

Avoiding the Car Repair Blues

We’ve all been there before. You get in your car and turn the ignition, but it will not start. Not today! Any day but today. With a little luck the car finally starts. But now where should you take the car for a mechanic to do a diagnostic? With a little planning you can be … Continued

CFA Submitted Comments to State Insurance Commissioners on the III/CAS Report “Insurance Rating Variables: What Are They and Why They Matter”

CFA issues a letter responding to the  Insurance Information Institute (III) and the Casualty Actuarial Society’s (CAS) recently issued a paper on auto insurance rating factors, which was  triggered by the “recently generated discussion within the United States” on “the use of some rating factors.” The paper, Insurance Rating Variables: What Are They and Why … Continued

Gift Cards: Risks and Protections When a Business Closes

Imagine this: You’re on your way to your favorite store with a gift card you plan to use, but when you arrive, the doors are locked, the lights are off, and a big “CLOSED FOR BUSINESS” sign is in the window. Now what? Gift cards are convenient and make for great gifts, but you can … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 19, 2019

Insurers Penalize Low-Income Drivers Who Upgrade Policies The nation’s largest auto insurance companies usually charge more for auto insurance to shoppers who currently have a minimum limits liability policy than companies charge to those who have previously purchased higher limits insurance, according to new research published last month by CFA. CFA called on state insurance … Continued

Protect Yourself from Porch Pirates and Mail Marauders

As consumer habits have shifted towards e-commerce, deliveries have become increasingly targeted by thieves. In fact, USA Today reported that in 2017, 30% of Americans experienced package theft. However, even traditional mail is not safe from thieves. These thefts occur throughout the year, but often escalate during the holiday season. Two common scams that you … Continued

I Am Having Problems With My Landlord. What Should I Do?

That’s a common question that consumers ask state and local consumer agencies. Here’s what you need to know to stand up for your rights effectively. What kind of tenant am I? First you need to know what kind of tenant you are! To a certain extent, your rights depend on whether you are a “tenant … Continued

Social Security Scams Hit Americans

If you’ve recently received a call from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration, you’re not alone. The current Social Security scam is a version of the impostor scam, which involves scammers representing themselves as government employees in order to access your personal and/or financial information. Typically, the scam starts when a consumer … Continued

Buyer Beware: Purchasing a Scooter or Electric Wheelchair

Purchasing an electric scooter or wheelchair can improve the quality of your life, but making an informed decision may mean the difference between increased mobility and getting stuck with an expensive product you can’t use. Here are some things to consider before making a purchase: Make sure you’re purchasing directly from a trusted source, like … Continued

CFAnews Update – August 6, 2019

Congress Urged To Suspend DHS Use of Face Recognition Technology In a joint letter to the House Committee on Homeland Security, several dozen consumer, privacy and civil rights groups, including CFA, urged Congress to suspend the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) use of facial recognition technology on the general public. According to the groups, the … Continued

How Do You Know if It’s Really “Green”?

Consumer demand for environmentally sound products has recently grown.  As a result, many companies in various industries have attempted to capitalize on this trend.  However, do the claims of “caring about the environment” or putting a green leaf on a product really mean the products are environmentally sound? The practice of conveying a false impression … Continued

Things to Consider with Solar Power

We all need electrical power to run our modern homes, appliances and internet gadgets. However, how we get power to our homes has been evolving with technology changes. Many consumers are becoming more eco-conscious with their choices and some are demanding a smaller carbon footprint. Another attraction of solar power is the potential to save … Continued

CFA And Consumer Action Urged The Federal Communications Commission To Hold Off On Making Changes To The Lifeline Program That Could Make Mobile Broadband Service Less Affordable For Low-Income Consumers

Consumer Action and Consumer Federation of America respectfully submit these comments asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to pause both the scheduled update to the minimum service standard for Lifeline-supported mobile broadband service and the scheduled reduction in the support amount for Lifeline-supported mobile voice service, both of which would otherwise take effect on December … Continued

Five Key Takeaways from the 2018 CFA Consumer Complaint Survey Report

So many interesting issues emerged from this year’s survey of state and local consumer protection agencies that it’s impossible to list them all. Here are some of my key takeaways based on information from the survey report. Payment methods in fraud continue to evolve. This year we heard about crooks asking people to send them … Continued

Off Highway Vehicles: Nearly 100 Recalls Since CFA Began Tracking

An Analysis of OHV Recalls: Increasing Number of OHVs Pulled from Market due to Safety Concerns A Consumer Federation of America (CFA) analysis of off highway vehicle (OHV) recalls found that over the past nine years, there have been 97 OHV recalls, and the number of recalls has increased from two recalls in 2010 to … Continued

CFAnews Update – July 16, 2019

CFA Warns: July 4th Is the Most Dangerous Day for Adults and Children on OHVs On the eve of the July 4th holiday, CFA issued an alert to off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders to operate their vehicles with caution and not to allow children 16 or younger to operate the vehicles. The annual release was tied … Continued