Consumer Information Bureau (FCC)
Consumer info from the Public Service Division of the Federal Communications Commission, like telephone bill charges explained!
A portal to U.S. government benefits information
Federal Consumer Information Center
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
Information on how to protect consumers and small business owners against fraud and scams.
More than 40 federal agencies provide info on this site, ranging from health to product safety.
New York State Consumer Protection Board
Consumer information from New York State, including the ability to register online to prevent telemarketers from calling (state law effective 4/1/01)
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
Register to block telemarketers, file complaints, and read documents created during the rule-making process.
New York State Do Not Call Website
Register to block telemarketers, read the laws and regulations, and file complaints
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.
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.
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.
Do a quick search to see if the organization is a registered charity. More in-depth information requires an account.
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."
- 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.
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
Maintained by the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society.
Rob Rosenberger's Computer Virus Myths
Good place to start when you receive a message about computer viruses.
Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center
Commercial antivirus site
Tracks email and other electronic hoaxes
National Highway Safety Transportation Administration
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
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
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
National Health Information Center website full of health information and interactive tools.
Professional Misconduct and Physician Discipline (N.Y. State)
Materials Safety Data Sheet
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.
Gateway to federal food safety information, from "how tos" to recalls.
USDA Food & Nutrition website
From nutrient in common foods to dietary planning to nutrition research.
ABA Public Resources Portal
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.
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
Student aid information, including finding loans and grants, repaying loans, and loan forgiveness