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SubjectsPlus: Consumer Information

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Comprehensive Sites
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Division Unrestricted Access

Consumer Information Bureau (FCC) Unrestricted Access
Consumer info from the Public Service Division of the Federal Communications Commission, like telephone bill charges explained!

Benefits.gov Unrestricted Access
A portal to U.S. government benefits information

Federal Consumer Information Center Unrestricted Access
Contains the full text of hundreds of the best federal consumer publications available, including the Consumer Action Handbook. View online or order print copies.

Federal Trade Commission Unrestricted Access
Information on how to protect consumers and small business owners against fraud and scams.

Consumer.Gov Unrestricted Access
More than 40 federal agencies provide info on this site, ranging from health to product safety.

New York State Consumer Protection Board Unrestricted Access
Consumer information from New York State, including the ability to register online to prevent telemarketers from calling (state law effective 4/1/01)

Recalls.gov Unrestricted Access
Recall information from 6 federal agencies: Dept. of Agriculture, Coast Guard, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Food & Drug Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Telemarketers
National Do Not Call Registry (Federal Trade Commission) Unrestricted Access
Register to block telemarketers, file complaints, and read documents created during the rule-making process.

New York State Do Not Call Website Unrestricted Access
Register to block telemarketers, read the laws and regulations, and file complaints

Finance
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Unrestricted Access
Created in 2011 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Updated daily in English & Spanish. Provides information, reports, and advice about a wide range of financial products and services (pay for college, foreclosure, loan discrimination, etc). Includes a database of complaints submitted by readers. Must create a free account to submit a complaint.
Charities
Charitable Institutions (New York State) Unrestricted Access
Site is maintained by the Attorney General of New York State, the report "Where the Money Goes" provides financial information about registered charitable organizations that solicit in NY State. "Where the Money Goes" includes an explanation of which charities are exempt from registering in NY State. Contains links to similar web sites.

Give.org Unrestricted Access
Site maintained by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving alliance. The Alliance reports on nationally soliciting charitable organizations that are the subject of donor inquiries. These reports include an evaluation of the subject charity in relation to the voluntary BBB charity standards.

Guidestar Unrestricted Access
Do a quick search to see if the organization is a registered charity. More in-depth information requires an account.

IRS Non-profits Unrestricted Access

Hoaxes
We've all gotten them - email messages warning us of HIV infected hypodermic needles hidden in the handles of gas pumps, that Bill Gates is promising $1,000 to everyone who forwards a certain e-mail message to others, or even that glass is super-cooled liquid that flows. Call them what you will: hoaxes, urban legends, or just plain wrong; you can check the veracity of many of these urban legends before you pass them on to friends and coworkers.

 Peter van der Linden and Terry Chan (on alt.folklore.urban) say that an urban legend:

  • appears mysteriously and spreads spontaneously in varying forms
  • contains elements of humor or horror (the horror often "punishes" someone who flouts society's conventions)
  • makes good storytelling
  • does NOT have to be false, although most are

ULs often have a basis in fact, but it's their life after-the-fact (particularly in reference to the second and third points) that gives them particular interest."

Other clues:

  • it's too horrible or too good to be true
  • you're asked to forward the message to as many people as possible
  • the message was forwarded to many people before it reached you
  • virus scams may use technical sounding language

Here are some websites that you may find useful for checking the "veracity" of email legends and other hoaxes before passing them on.

Purportal.com Unrestricted Access
Can individually search 5 hoax-busting sites (including many listed below) or use their list of hoax related sites to connect to your favorite.

Urban Legends Reference Pages Unrestricted Access
Maintained by the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society.

Rob Rosenberger's Computer Virus Myths Unrestricted Access
Good place to start when you receive a message about computer viruses.

Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center Unrestricted Access
Commercial antivirus site

ScamBusters Unrestricted Access
Tracks email and other electronic hoaxes
 

Cars
Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guides Unrestricted Access

CarTalk Unrestricted Access

National Highway Safety Transportation Administration Unrestricted Access
Links to recalls and crash tests, including tests conducted by NHSTA,  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Organization for Automotive Safety and Victims' Aid (Japan), NRMA Crash Testing (Australia), and Euro NCAP (FIA Crash Testing).

Fuel Economy Site Unrestricted Access
Maintained by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, this site features the annual Fuel Economy Guide, a search engine that allows you to find and compare the mpg and CO2 emissions, and more.

National Highway Safety Administration State Legislative Fact Sheets Unrestricted Access
States are responsible for most traffic safety laws. State Legislative Fact Sheets provide key facts, reasons for passing specific types of legislation, resulting benefits, supporting organizations, sources of information and other facts to assist states that are trying to upgrade or pass new traffic safety legislation.

State Traffic Laws Unrestricted Access
From FindLaw

Recreation and Travel
Recreation.gov Unrestricted Access
Provides a single point of access to information about Federal recreational activities and reservations (make 'em online!).

National Parks Service Unrestricted Access
Plan your next trip to one of our national treasures

Health
(see also Subjects Plus Medicine & Health)

Healthfinder.gov Unrestricted Access
National Health Information Center website full of health information and interactive tools.

Professional Misconduct and Physician Discipline (N.Y. State) Unrestricted Access

Materials Safety Data Sheet Unrestricted Access
Maintained by the Cornell University, this site contains a large collection of Material Safety Data Sheets for laboratory chemicals. Check in here for information about the properties, safety information, and potential hazards of chemical substances.



FoodSafety.gov Unrestricted Access
Gateway to federal food safety information, from "how tos" to recalls.

USDA Food & Nutrition website Unrestricted Access
From nutrient in common foods to dietary planning to nutrition research.

Law
(see Subjects Plus Law)

ABA Public Resources Portal Unrestricted Access
Offers "access to resources designed with consumers in mind." The site is divided into eight sections: Family, Home, Job, Finances, Buying and Selling, Criminal Justice, and Finding a Lawyer. Each section contains links to resources provided by ABA, handbooks, glossaries, documents, and so forth.

Veterans
Veterans Administration Unrestricted Access

Veterans.gov Unrestricted Access
U.S. Office of Personnel Management veteran's employment website.

Students
Student Aid on the Web Unrestricted Access
Designed to help students tap into the vast amount of government information, from selection and paying for college to studying to finding summer internships and volunteer opportunities.

U.S. Dept. of Education Unrestricted Access
Student aid information, including finding loans and grants, repaying loans, and loan forgiveness



Last updated: July 28, 2010
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