Consumer Protection

Whether you need to verify a state or local licensing company or to learn more about scams, there are many government resources available to help.   Listed below are several of these resources designed to help protect consumers from fraud and scams.

USA.gov

This portal links to a number of Consumer Protection websites.  While more direct ways of accessing the sites are explored in the other listings provided below, this portal covers a broad range of topics and is worth exploring. 

To register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry:

  • Click on Telemarketing and Unwanted Mail, then Register Your Phone Number on the National Do Not Call Registry.  
  • Enter up to three phone numbers and your e-mail address in the form provided.
  • Click submit.  Make sure to review your form for errors. 
  • Finally click on Register.
  • You will receive a confirmation e-mail from Register@donotcall.gov. Open this e-mail and click on the link provided to complete your registration.

To see if a business or service provider is licensed in California:

  • Click on State Consumer Protection Offices.
  • Select California from the drop-down menu and click on Go. 
  • Scroll down to California Department of Consumer Affairs and scroll down to and click on License Search, then click on License Search again. 
  • Select a license type and enter the appropriate information in the form provided.

To learn about particular consumer frauds and scams, click on Scams and Frauds, then Current Scams and Frauds, or one of the other options, such as IRS Scams, or Identity Theft.

The Consumer Action Handbook is also available on this site and is filled with much useful information.  Click on NEW! Read the Consumer Action Handbook Online.

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection

The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by collecting complaints and conducting investigations. 

  • For FTC’s most recent reports on consumer protection, scroll down to Latest Reports to retrieve publications. 
  • This site displays recent cases against fraudulent companies which resulted in refunds.   
  • Under Consumer Information, consumers can find alerts and tips on how to protect against scams and identity theft.
  • The National Do Not Call Registry is also available through this website. 

California Department of Justice’s Charities Research Tool

This website helps you determine if a charity is legitimate and contains a broad range of information related to charities operating or fundraising in California, including a searchable database, or annual financial reports filed by commercial fundraisers for charitable purposes. 

To use the Charity Search tool:

  • Scroll down to Charity Research Resources and click on "Registry Verification Search tool"
  • Type the organization name, city, county, and any other relevant information in the form provided. Remember, less is more; the fewer fields you fill out, the more results you may potentially retrieve.
  • Click on Search to determine if the charity is legitimate.

FBI

This website lists the various telemarketing, internet, investment and mail scams as well as scams targeting seniors.  Click on Scams and Safety, then Common Fraud Schemes.  Chose a particular topic or scam to learn more.

United States Postal Inspection Service

This site provides information about illegal telemarketing, identity theft, and current mail fraud scams.          

To learn more, choose Tips and Prevention from the main menu. Under the dropdown you will find more detailed information about scams, identity theft, mail fraud, other types of fraud and cybercrime. 

If you have been or believe you have been a victim of mail fraud, identity theft, vandalism, mail theft, or tampering you can file a complaint through this site, click here to report a crime.