Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Seven Tips From the FTC to Help You Become a More Savvy Consumer

The following is courtesy of:

The Federal Trade Commission is America's consumer protection champion.

Seven Tips From the FTC to Help You Become a More Savvy Consumer.

1. Know who you are dealing with. Don't do business with any company that won't clearly provide its name, street address, and telephone number.

2. Protect your personal information. Share credit card or other personal information only when buying from a company you know and trust.

3. Take your time. Resist any urge to "act now" despite the offer and the terms. Once you turn over your money, you may never get it back.

4. Know the risks. Every potentially high-profit investment is high-risk. That means you could lose your investment — all of it.

5. Read the small print. Get all promises in writing and review them carefully — especially the ones in small print — before making a payment or signing a contract.

6. Never pay for a "free" gift. Throw away any offer that asks for payment for a "free" gift. If it's free or a gift, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Free is free.

7. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it. If you are a victim of fraud, there is a way for you to get even with the scam artists who cheated you. By reporting your complaint to www.FTC.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials track down scam artists — and stop them!

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.

To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.FTC.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

To Order Printed Copies of FTC Publications, click here.

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Behavior Management Expert and Maximizing Your Potential Mentor™ Etienne A. Gibbs is a life-observing author, engaging talk show host, humorous speaker, and successful trainer who teaches small business owners, managers, and employees how to speak, think, and perform in ways that will help them shine. In the end, they maximize their critical thinking, speaking, and management skills.

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