During the past few years, consumers have complained to the Federal Trade Commission about debt collection more than just about any other single topic. It’s no surprise, then, that when we asked legal services attorneys and non-profits across the country what issues resonate most with the people they see, credit and debt topped that list, too.
That’s why the FTC’s new resource, consumer.gov, devotes a section to issues related to credit and debt. It is a great place to learn about building your credit history, and getting your credit reports and scores; using credit, including credit cards, loans, and interest rates; the risks of using more expensive credit options like payday loans and car title loans; and managing debt – from better budgeting to dealing with debt collectors.
What if a company called you, demanding you pay for a product they said you ordered? What if they threatened you if you didn’t pay? And what if you never actually ordered that product, never even saw it, and never promised to pay for anything?
Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
National Consumer Protection Weeks begins today, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years. Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.
In 2012, the FTC received more than 2 million consumer complaints – a first in the history of the Consumer Sentinel Network. The #1 category of complaints? Identity theft. This tidbit is from the hot-off-the-press Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2012, a fascinating analysis of complaints received in Sentinel during the previous calendar year. Sentinel is a secure online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims, and track possible targets.
Want to learn more about the top ten complaint categories, get national data, and state-by-state accountings of the top complaints? Check out the 2012 Sentinel Data Book.
If you’re thinking about applying for an online payday loan, you might be dealing with a direct lender – or you might be dealing with a loan aggregator. A direct lender lends you the money; a loan aggregator is a middleman – a company that collects your personal and financial information on a loan application and shops it around to lenders who might offer you a loan.