A Guide to the FTC’s Consumer Resources

The Federal Trade Commission is far from a distant government body in charge of obscure financial matters. On the contrary, the FTC works to protect every consumer when it comes to their daily financial choices. As a part of this mission, the FTC offers numerous online repositories of advice, information, warnings, and checklists that you can use to become more informed on the FTC’s doings or even to solve a financial crisis. Explore these topics to learn more about what the FTC teaches, and how you can use the site’s resources today!

Credit Scores

Need Credit or Insurance? Your Credit Score Helps Determine What You’ll Pay: This FTC overview covers how a credit score works and what you can do to improve your score. Start here to learn more about how lenders look at your financial status.

Your Access to Free Credit Reports: Yes, you can get a credit report for free. The FTC shows you how, and warns against scams that force you to pay.

Building a Better Credit Report: Here the FTC goes over the Fair Credit Reporting Act and similar laws that protect your financial information, explaining how they are connected to credit reports and what they do for you.

How to Dispute Credit Report Errors: This article explains that errors can occur in credit reports, and walks you through the basic steps on how to dispute these errors. A sample letter is included, but the links at the bottom may be even more useful.

Credit Cards

Money Matters: Choosing Credit Cards: In its Money Matters subsite, the FTC goes over the basic features of credit cards and how to choose them.

Money Matters: Using Credit Cards: This follow-up article outlines how to properly use cards and what problems you may encounter with credit cards. It also includes a list of helpful articles in the Resources sidebar.

Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud: This list of tips is designed specifically for protecting credits from criminals. It provides basic dos and don’ts for using credit cards and is useful for first-time users.

Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards: What to Do if They’re Lost or Stolen: Here your liability for stolen cards is covered, along with immediate responses you should have and ways to protect your credit cards in the future.

Consumer Debt Solutions

Knee Deep in Debt: This article offers general solutions for loan problems. It may not give all the specifics, but the FTC encourages you to seek out the right plan for your debt, even offering potential solutions for nearly any bad credit situation.

Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself: This article is both a warning against companies that offer scams instead of credit help, and a guide on how to seek proper credit repair without experiencing any pitfalls.

Fiscal Fitness: Choosing a Credit Counselor: Credit counselors can help you solve debt problems and may even be required for processes like bankruptcy, but choosing the right counselor can be tough. The FTC offers tips and questions you will want to ask.

Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do: This article helps you understand your mortgage and deal with payment problems. It provides a quality overview on topics like avoiding foreclosure and participating in government programs.

Credit Security and Fraud Protection

Identity Theft: What to Know, What to Do: This is a basic, introductory FTC article on Identity Theft, and is useful if you are interested in acquainting yourself with the topic.

Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center: This FTC hub helps small businesses understand security issues and help protect both a business’s financial information and their customers private information.

Fighting Back Against Identity Theft: This center provides all the resources the FTC gives consumers to help stop identity theft. It also includes multiple informative articles and key, in-depth checklists to follow when your identity is stolen.

Consumer Rights

Consumer Information: This section gives you several categories – such as automobiles, education, health, and products – to search through in order to learn more about potential scams and your rights when scammed.

Billed for Merchandise You Never Received? Here’s What to Do: This article goes over errors in bills and possible scams, giving you ways to deal with them. Along the way, you will learn a lot about how the merchandise billing system works.

How to Right a Wrong: This article goes over broader problems between consumers and companies, giving you tips on how to deal with errors, unsatisfactory goods, and the other problems you may encounter in the consumer world.

A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act: While many of these are covered in the credit report section, this list gathers all the basics in one place for a quick, easy look that will help in your loan application process.