There are many consumer protection laws to help protect your hard-earned money. You're the first line of defense, though. The best protection against being taken advantage of is knowing what to look for and avoid when you're spending your money. Here's a list of things to help you protect yourself.
- Identity theft is real and can be devastating. Be careful giving out your social security number and bank account information
- Check your credit report each year. It's free!
- Fix any errors immediately
- Read the fine print on credit card applications
- Live within your means. Too much debt may lead to bankruptcy
- Research before you buy anything or donate money. Scams are everywhere!
- If you're the victim of fraud, contact the FTC and your state's attorney general's office immediately
- Keep all receipts, and register new products with the manufacturer so you get information about safety issues and recalls
- Read loan documents very carefully to avoid predatory lending - high interest rates, fees, penalties, etc.
- Let the car dealership know about any and all problems with your new car immediately
- Contact a consumer law attorney if you have any problems with buying goods or services or making charitable donations
It's always a good idea to be smart with your money, but even more so in tough economic times. Laws help to keep things honest and fair, but if you make the effort to get and stay informed, you can avoid many problems in your everyday affairs.