Consumer Awareness and Information
Going To the Post Office for a Loan?
Post offices could once again offer banking services under a proposal by the Postal Service Inspector General.
Mail Customers Willing to Accept Service Cuts
Study group concludes Americans would accept mail service cuts to save Postal Service.
When it was Legal to Mail a Baby
Several babies and children were actually legally mailed via the US Post Office from 1913 to 1915.
Study Says Dollar Coin Would Save Taxpayers Billions
Study says switching from paper dollar bills to dollar coins would save US taxpayers billions.
Why Postal Unions Oppose Postal Reform Bill
Why the two major unions representing postal workers oppose Rep. Darrell Issa’s Postal Reform Act of 2013.
Nuclear Waste to America: 'I’m Still Here'
After the failure of the Yucca Mountain project, 70,000 tons of deadly nuclear waste remains at 75 sites in 33 states.
Risks of Oil Well Fracking Not Known, GAO Finds
The health and environmental risks of shale oil fracking remain largely unknown, according to the GAO.
The US Federal Farm Safety Net
What does the US government do to protect farmers and ranchers from natural disasters like the drought of 2012?
Protect Your Kids from ID Theft at School
Learn how to protect your children from identity theft at school.
America Running Out of Farmers?
The rapid aging of America's farmers coupled with the lack of new young farmers threatens soaring food prices, warns the USDA.
Postal Regulators Challenge Post Office Closure List
The US Postal Regulatory Commission has issued an opinion finding the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to close more than 3,600 post offices was based on questionable data.
The Postal Reform Act of 2011
U.S. Sen. John McCain has introduced the Postal Reform Act of 2011, intended to save the cash strapped U.S. Postal Service. What does the bill do, and what does it not do?
The Federal Tax ID or EIN 'Phishing' Scam
An email claiming to be from the IRS offering to help you get a n IRS Employer Identification Number, or EIN is really a dangerous identity theft “phishing” scam.
16 Stamps Show16 Ways Americans Can Help
The "Go Green" stamps from the US Postal Service depict 16 ways Americans can conserve energy and protect the environment.
5 Ways to Survive a Postal Service Shutdown
Could you survive without the U.S. Mail? The US Postal Service may very well run out of funds and be forced to shut down all operations. Here are 5 ways to get by without the U.S. Postal Service.
Life Without the U.S. Mail – Could You Survive Without the U.S. Postal ...
Could you get along with out the U.S. Postal Service?
Door to Door Postal Services Might Be a Thing of the Past
The USPS says it might have to stop door-to-door mail delivery completely. What then?
FDA's Food Safety Program Gets Real Teeth
How the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA) adds real enforcement “teeth” to the FDA’s food safety program.
Does the Postal Service Really Pay Workers to Do Nothing?
Find out why the Postal Service pays people to sit around and do nothing. Read a description of the Postal Service Standby Time policy. See how much the agency is spending on wages for employees who aren't actually working.
Postal Service Losses By Year
Find out how much money the U.S. Postal Service has lost by year. See what the agency is going to save money. Learn about the history of its financial problems.
Mail Might Take Longer to Get There
Find out why the Postal Service might slow down delivery of First Class Mail, Priority Mail and other services. See how much money relaxing delivery standards could save the beleaguered agency. Learn about other cost-saving measures adopted buy the agency.
Startup Visa Rules Change
Find out what a startup visa is and who is eligible. See how the program was changes in 2011 to help improve the U.S. economy. Learn about the different types of visas for foreign entrepreneurs and investors.
The Postal Service Debt Ceiling
Find out how much the U.S. Postal Service Debt Ceiling is. See how much the agency is permitted to borrow every year. Learn when the postal service will hit its debt limit. Discover what the beleaguered agency is prepared to do.
5 Signs You're a Victim of Cramming
Find out how to spot cramming on your phone bill. See examples of unauthorized charges for mysterious and often non-existent services. Learn what to do if you are a victim of this illegal practice.
Mail Delivery Just Three Days a Week?
Find out whether the Postal Service is really considering reducing mail delivery to just three days a week. See what the future holds for the beleaguered agency. Learn why postal executives are talking about service cutbacks.
Postal Service Ends Bonuses for Top Executives
Find out why the Postal Service canceled bonuses for top executives in 2011. Discover how much the cash-strapped agency is saving from the move. Learn about other steps postal officials are taking to return the agency to profitability. Read criticism of agency spending and cost cutting proposals.
Shrimp Treadmill Study Paid for With Taxpayer Money
Find out how much the controversial shrimp treadmill cost taxpayers. See how the National Science Foundation defended the research. Learn about what the research was used for.
FDA Proposes New Sunscreen Regulations
Tanning without risk of skin cancer is the goal of new FDA regulations on sunscreen products.
Why Your Laser Pointer Could Cost You 11 Grand
Find out how much the fines are for aiming a laser pointer at an airplane. See why the devices are more than just nuisances to public safety. Learn about efforts to crack down on what authorities say is a prank that threatens the safety of passengers and pilots.
Highest Paying Postal Jobs
Find out how much top postal jobs pay. Read descriptions of postal jobs that pay well. See who currently holds the postal jobs at the top of the U.S. Postal Service. Learn about those who hold the top postal jobs.
How Credit Rating Downgrade for U.S. Would Affect Consumers
Find out why the high credit rating for the United States could be downgraded. See how a credit rating downgrade for the United States would affect businesses and consumers. Read an explanation of why the credit rating outlook is negative instead of stable.
FDA to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes as Tobacco
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated it will regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes, or "e-cigarettes," the same way it regulates tobacco products after a federal court ruled the Agency could not regulate them as a drug.
A Towering Mistake on Lady Liberty Stamps
Find out why Lady Liberty stamps show a replica of the Statue of Liberty instead of the real thing. Discover what the U.S. Postal Service had to say about the mixup over its Lady Liberty stamps. Learn about the history of the statues portrayed on the Lady Liberty stamps. See images of the Lady Liberty stamps and the real and replica Statues of...
Do Water Walking Balls Pose Suffocation Risk?
Find out why water walking balls were the topic of a government warning. Learn about the dangers water walking balls pose. See how water walking balls have caused injuries in the United States. Discover the government's suggestion for using water walking balls.
Can ANWR Save Us From High Gas Prices?
Find out how much oil is in ANWR and whether drilling in ANWR would lower gas prices. Learn about the history of ANWR and the debate over drilling in ANWR. Discover how much oil Americans consume every day as it compares to potential production of oil in ANWR. Read estimates of how much oil could be produced in ANWR and how much ANWR oil would...
Can You Get a Passport if You Owe Back Taxes?
Find out whether you can still get a passport if you owe back taxes. Read about proposed changes to U.S. law dealing with your right to get a passport if you owe federal taxes. Learn what happened to others who tried to get a passport when they owed federal taxes.
12 Famous Postal Employees
Discover some of the most famous postal employees in U.S. history. Read what positions these famous postal employees held. Learn how some of the famous postal employees got their jobs with the Postal Service.
Harmed by a Cosmetic? Tell the FDA
Consumers who have suffered harmful physical effects from the use of any number of cosmetic products are being urged to complain directly to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
USPS No Saturday Mail Plan Snubs Rural America
In the opinion of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has failed to properly evaluate the impact ending Saturday mail delivery would have on rural America.
Is End of Saturday Mail Such a Good Idea?
Find out why the U.S. Postal Service wants to stop delivering Saturday mail. See why government watchdogs say ending Saturday mail is not a good idea. Learn about how the end of Saturday mail would impact you.
When and How Will the CALM Act be Enforced?
On December 15, 2010, President Obama signed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act requiring TV broadcasters to ensure that commercials air at a volume no louder than the programs in which they appear. When and how will the CALM Act be enforced.
Movie Popcorn's Big Secret
Find out why movie popcorn is exempt from the federal government's proposed nutrition labels. Discover how many calories and grams of fat are in a bucket of movie popcorn. Learn about the fight to keep nutritional information about movie popcorn hidden.
CPSC Warns of Button Battery Injuries
An increasing number of young children and senior adults are being seriously injured by unintentionally swallowing “button batteries,” the coin-sized batteries now commonly found in households across the nation, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Postal Service Cutting Jobs, Closing Offices
Hoping to save his financially strapped semi-independent federal agency about $750 million a year, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe has announced that the “newly redesigned” U.S. Postal Service will be eliminating 7,500 jobs organization-wide and closing seven district offices.
Bringing Consumer Protection Resources Together
For years, Americans have looked to U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the USDA as mainline sources of information about products, goods and services that can do us physical, financial or psychological harm. But is there one place where consumers can “get it all?”
Help Japan Without Being Scammed
Find out why the FBI issued warnings to American who want to help Japan recover from the March 2011 earthquakes and tsunami. Discover how to safely help Japan without falling victim to scammers. Learn how to give to charity and make sure your money really is going to help Japan.
USPS Could Learn from Foreign Postal Services, GAO Reports
For the US Postal Service – the USPS – to survive and recover from its mounting financial woes it needs to reduce its costs while increasing customer satisfaction, which is exactly what at least six successful foreign postal services have done, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Online John F. Kennedy Archive
Need to know something about John F. Kennedy and his one thousand days as 35th President of the United States? Well you’re in luck because the National Archives along with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation have produced the nation’s largest online presidential archive featuring the papers, records, photographs and recordings of the John F. Kennedy administration.
Top 5 Tips for Getting Your Tax Refund Quickly
Find out the quickest way to get a tax refund. See IRS tips for getting a tax refund quickly. Read important information about correcting mistakes in your tax refund.
Egypt and Oil Prices Not a Problem, CRS Report Says
The recent public protests in Egypt and resulting resignation of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are unlikely to have a significant impact on global oil and natural gas prices, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Who Enforces Daylight Saving Time?
See which government agency is responsible for overseeing daylight saving time. Find out what the government's duty is in regulating daylight saving time. Discover whether the government can actually penalize states that don't follow daylight saving time rules.
Postal Service Travels Well on Your Dime
Read about Postal Service waste. Find out how much Postal Service waste costs American taxpayers. See the most egregious examples of Postal Service waste.
How to Check Your Tax Refund Status on a Smartphone
Discover how to use the IRS2Go smartphone app to check the status of your federal tax return. Learn important details about the security of the IRS2Go smartphone app. Find out where to download the IRS2Go smartphone app.
US Pork Could Become Tainted, Inspector General Finds
USDA Inspector General finds dangerously lax enforcement of sanitation and humane animal treatment regulations at US swine processing plants.
The Hidden Danger of a Green Laser
Find out why the U.S. government issued a warning about the use of green laser. See the problems caused by a green laser. Learn about the health impacts of a green laser on airline pilots. Discover the penalties for shining a green laser at airplanes.
Most Postage Rates to Rise - Not First-Class
Most US postage rates will increase on April 17, 2011, but the First-Class postage rates will remain at 44 cents.
Federal Holidays in 2011
Read a list of federal holidays in 2011. See when all federal holidays in 2011 are being observed. Explore the history of federal holidays in 2011.
Could New USDA Meat Labels Hurt Consumers?
The USDA has announced a new federal regulation requiring nutrition information labels on 40 popular cuts of beef and all poultry. That’s nice, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, but while it took the USDA 10 years to actually enact the rule, the new labels will not help consumers as much as they’ll help meat and poultry producers.
The Holiday Gift That Scares the FBI
Read a description of Barbie Video Girl. Find out why Barbie Video Girl worried the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See how makers of Barbie Video Girl responded to government warnings about their product. Learn about concerns cybercrime investigators have about Barbie Video Girl.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe
Read a biography of Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. Find out what goals Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe has for the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service. See how Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe plans to return the postal service to profitability. Learn about the lengthy postal service career of Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
US Passport - How to Apply for a US Passport
Getting a US passport can be simple or it can be crash course in bureaucracy. You want simple. Best advice? Learn the rules, assemble everything you need before you apply for your passport and apply at least 6 weeks before your trip.
Are Government's Proposed Cigarette Warning Labels Unconstitutional?
Read about the legal fight over the government's proposed cigarette warning labels. Find out why so many people were startled by the design of the cigarette warning labels. Discover why the government is proposing to modify cigarette warning labels. See why tobacco companies object to the cigarette warning labels.
Shocking New Cigarette Warning Labels Proposed
They are shocking. They are grizzly. And they are going to start showing up -- big and in full-color -- on cigarette packages if the FDA's proposal for new tobacco warning labels is approved.
Do I Have to Pay Sales Tax on Those Holiday Gifts I Bought Online?
Find out whether you are obligated to pay sales tax on items purchased online. See how governments collect sales tax on items purchased online. Discover which states force their residents to pay sales tax on items purchased online. Learn which states don't charge sales tax.
Replacing Mutilated US Currency
The process used for replacing damaged US currency depends on how badly the bills are damaged. Here is what to look for and what to do in order to get damaged US money replaced.
The Right Gift for the Mailman
Learn about the proper gifts for the mailman. See what gifts for the mailman are prohibited. Discover the best gifts for the mailman.
Identity Theft Prevention and Recovery Resources
The U.S. government, through the Federal Trade Commission has developed a slate of resources to help consumers prevent and recover from identity theft.
Birth Certificate – How to Get a Copy of Your Birth Certificate
A birth certificate or a certified copy of an original birth certificate is becoming increasingly important as a required form of identification. Learn how to get a copy of your birth certificate.
About the U.S. Postal Service
About the United States Postal Service (USPS). Is it government agency or a private business? It's both.
Most Automated Telemarketing Robocalls Prohibited by FTC
Most prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls – also called robocalls – will be prohibited after Sept. 1, 2009.
The Truth About Cell Phones and Telemarketers
According to the FTC it never has been and is still not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the telemarketer-screening National Do Not Call Registry.
Online Holiday Shopping Scams
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reminds consumers to be on guard against online criminals who continue to create new ways to steal money and personal information.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
Americans are among the most voracious consumers in the world. They love to buy new stuff, from toys to furniture and electronics to sports equipment. But who makes sure that the toys kids play with aren't harmful? That the coolest new high-tech device won't overheat and catch fire? That the latest wonder cleaner doesn't have toxic fumes? The Consumer Product Safety Commission does.
About Time! Daylight Saving, That Is
About daylight saving time. Dates to set clocks and history of daylight saving time.
The Food and Drug Administration
There is little else in life we need to be more certain about than the things we place in our bodies: the food that sustains us, the food of the animals we consume, the drugs that heal us, and the medical devices that prolong and improve our lives. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is the agency that ensures the safety of the things that...
Seized and Surplus Vehicle Auctions from U.S. Border Patrol
The U.S. Border Patrol is now auctioning off hundreds of seized and surplus cars and trucks at ten locations operated by it's San Antonio, Texas-based contractor, Robertson Auto Auctions.
Energy Star a Gold Star for the EPA
The EPA Energy Star label first began appearing on a few computer monitors back in 1992. Today the Energy Star -- a certification of money-saving energy efficiency and earth-saving environmental "greenness" -- can be found on over 50 different kinds of consumer products, including new homes and office buildings.
FTC Warns of 'Check Overpayment' Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of a dangerous and growing swindle called the “check overpayment” scam, now the fifth most common telemarketing fraud and the fourth most common Internet scam reported.
Lawmakers Find Amtrak Must Change to Survive
That’s no way to run a railroad, says the U.S. Congress’ Amtrak Working Group (AWG), in finding that mismanagement within Amtrak has lead to a lack of confidence by the public and unpredictable funding from Congress.
Jury Duty Scam Could Lead to Identity Theft
The FBI and U.S. Courts are warning consumers to be alert for an increasingly common -- and effective -- telephone-based identity theft threat known as "the jury duty scam."
FDA Defines What 'Whole Grain' Really Means
Hundreds of products on supermarket shelves tout their wholesome quality as being "whole grain." Are they, really? Some are not, and to help consumers make knowledgeable dietary choices, the FDA has issued a "guidance" to food manufacturers on exactly what products labeled "whole grain" may and may not include.
OMB Website Rates Performance of Federal Programs
Rather than simply paying our money and taking our chances, U.S. taxpayers now have a simple way of finding out which federal programs are working, which are not, and what they are doing to improve.
FDA Rules Barley Products Can Make Healthy Heart Claims
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that makers of whole grain barley and barley-containing products will be allowed to claim that those products reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
FDA Warns of Paxil Birth Defect Risks
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert to physicians and patients warning of potential risks of birth defects resulting from the use Paxil, a drug prescribed for depression and several other psychiatric disorders.
Important Airport Security Changes Coming Dec. 22
Airline travelers will notice some changes in airport security measures starting December 22, according to the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). The specific changes include more additional screenings of passengers and their bags using a variety of methods selected at random. Passengers will also once again be able to carry small tools and scissors on-board aircraft.
Security Tips to Speed Holiday Air Travel
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) urges holiday air travelers to bring plenty of patience to the airport and to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary delays at the security checkpoints.
2005 Bad Year for Consumer Safety, CPSC Reports
The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports setting several records in consumer product safety areas during fiscal 2005. Problem is, they were bad records.
Postage Rates to Increase in 2006
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which is really sort of a private business, has to make a $3.1 billion escrow payment in 2006. So, sometime in early 2006; the cost of a First-Class stamp will go up two cents, to 39 cents, while the postcard rate will rise to 24 cents.
Flying with Guns, Knives, Outdoor Gear
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to inform individuals who have flight plans for their next hunting or fishing trip that traveling with outdoor gear, guns and most camping items is permitted, but preparations should be made in advance to avoid packing prohibited items in carry-on or checked baggage.
Changing Your Address With Government Agencies
Changing your address has to be one of the biggest hassles of moving. Especially if you are receiving government benefit payments, it is vital that you notify the appropriate government agencies of your new address. Here is a handy list of resources to help make the job of changing your address as painless as possible.
USPS Working to Reconnect Katrina Victims With Their Mail
Hurricane Katrina stopped many things, including the delivery of mail to millions of postal customers in the devastated areas. While mail delivery is currently suspended to many areas, the Postal Service remains committed to making sure victims get their mail.
GAO Probes College Textbook Price Increases
A General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation has revealed that U.S. college textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the last 20 years, nearly tripling since 1968. Congress wanted to know (A.) why textbooks had become so expensive and (B.) why some U.S. textbooks sell outside the United States for lower prices. What did the GAO find out?
Bill Would Help Protect Against ID Theft
Since few things are more politically safe to hate, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. senators has proposed legislation designed to protect consumers from identity theft.
Online Banking Needs Tougher Security, Says FDIC
As Internet-lurking identity thieves hone their dark skills, banks and financial institutions need to employ more advanced technology to protect the identity and information of online banking customers, according to a recently release study conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Head Start Produces Little Educational Value, HHS Finds
Criticism of the federal Head Start program as providing children with little more than a breakfast before school seems to be supported by a new Health and Human Services (HHS) study on the program's educational impacts.
Date Lonely Wife Spam Halted by Court
The "date lonely wife" email spam-scam, a violator of virtually every provision of the federal CAN-SPAM Act, has been halted by the courts at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.
Flood Insurance Myths and Facts
"People who live on top of the hill don't need flood insurance." Not true, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and just one of the many myths surrounding the agency's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). When it comes to flood insurance, not having the facts can literally cost you your life's savings. Owners of both homes and businesses need to know the flood insurance myths and facts.
U.S. Traffic Congestion Getting Worse, Researchers Report
Traffic congestion, already costing Americans $63.1 billion a year, is only getting worse, according to a new report from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). Factoring in today's rising fuel prices adds another $1.7 billion per year.
Postal Service Wants Your Comments
Think you know a way to make the U.S. mail work better? Great, because the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wants to hear about it.
US Mint to Offer 24-Karat Gold Bullion and Proof Coins
Investors and coin collectors alike should take note that the United States Mint has announced it will begin making and selling 24-karat (99.99% pure gold) uncirculated gold bullion investment coins in early 2006. Collector quality proof coins will be made available later in the year.
Truth About Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry
If you’ve received an e-mail telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by telemarketing calls as a result of a new cell phone number database, rest assured that this is not the case.
Energy Bill Would Extend Daylight Savings Time
Love it or hate it, America's annual observance of daylight savings time would be extended an additional two months under a provision of the massive Energy Policy Act of 2005.
GAO Finds Ongoing Head Start Mismanagement
Apparently, the seemingly bogus citations being issued to Head Start programs are just the tip of a much more serious iceberg of ongoing mismanagement and financial irregularity within the federal preschool program for poor children.
'Bogus' Violation Reports Plague Head Start Programs
Head Start programs across the nation are being found out of compliance with federal regulations under a wide range of citations called "subjective and even bizarre" by officials of the National Head Start Association (NHSA).
Soaring Gas Prices Will Not Reduce Demand
With the 2005 spring and summer travel season approaching, gasoline prices are high and getting higher, but far from high enough to stop Americans from filling up, according to a fuel economy specialist at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Virus Warning: Email From FBI Not Really From FBI
So you get an email from the FBI -- yes the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- that says the Bureau's Internet Fraud Complaint Center has been "monitoring" your internet use and found you have been visiting some "illegal" Web sites. Well, be warned! The email is not from the FBI and if you open the attached questionnaire, you'll get yourself a new computer virus.
Defective Firearms Greater Threat than Thought
Would you be surprised to learn that, unlike almost every other consumer product, firearms and ammunition manufactured in the U.S. are not subject to any federal health and consumer safety oversight? Fact is, no federal agency has the necessary authority to ensure that poorly made guns don't explode or unintentionally discharge when they are dropped or bumped.
Regulations Close Doors to Affordable Housing, HUD Finds
Excessive and often unnecessary regulatory barriers are closing the door to affordable housing for American working families, according to a massive report just release by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Telemarketers to Pay $500,000 for Do Not Call Violations
For calling thousands of consumers who had placed their phone numbers on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, two timeshare sellers and their telemarketer will pay more than $500,000 in civil penalties and will be hanging up... permanently.
Amtrak Dying, Sec. Mineta Says
Amtrak “is dying and everyone knows it,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said during a news conference at Chicago’s Union Station. Mineta came to reaffirm President Bush’s commitment to reform of the nation’s passenger rail system a week after the Administration unveiled a budget that proposed an end to taxpayer subsidies for the current Amtrak system.
Work at Home Scams: They Just Don't Pay Off
"Make big $$$ working from home. Earn $50 to $200 /hour in the comfort of your home!" You've seen the ads in newspapers, on flyers stapled to telephone poles, and on the Internet. They sound great. In fact, working at home has become more attractive than ever as stay-at-home moms, college students, and retirees look for new ways to earn extra money. But be wary of these offers, warn U.S. Postal Inspectors.
Power Interruptions Cost Nation $80 Billion Annually
Along with priceless levels of aggravation and inconvenience, electric power outages and blackouts cost America around $80 billion annually, according to a study conducted by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
FTC Releases Top Ten Consumer Complaint Categories
The Federal Trade Commission has released its annual report detailing consumer complaints about identity theft and listing the top 10 categories of fraud-related complaints filed with the FTC in 2004. For the fifth year in a row, identity theft topped the list of complaints, accounting for 39 percent of the 635,173 consumer fraud complaints filed with the agency last year.
DOT Warns of Super Bowl Airline Ticket Scams
Consumers are being warned of scams involving sales of airline tickets to the Feb. 6 Super Bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida. It seems that some less-than-honest folks are selling "discount" Super Bowl tour packages that include everything except -- tickets to the football game.
USPS to Offer 2005 Inaugural Keepsake Set
Presidential campaign memorabilia, patriotism and the history of Old Glory will be highlighted Jan. 20 as the Postal Service commemorates the 2005 Presidential Inauguration by issuing an Inaugural Keepsake Set.
2004 Westward Journey Nickel Sets Go On Sale Jan. 5
Coin collectors should take note that the United States Mint has announced that the 2004 Westward Journey Nickel Series(TM) Coin and Medal Set, priced at $19.95, will be available January 5, 2005, beginning at 12:00 noon (ET).
State Dept. Blocks Adoption of Tsunami Victims
In response to many inquiries from concerned Americans, the U.S. Department of State has stated that it will not be possible for U.S. citizens to adopt children who have been orphaned by the tsunami that struck parts of South Asia.
Beware of "Check Overpayment" Scam, FTC Warns
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers to watch out for “Check overpayment” scams targeting consumers selling cars or other valuable items through classified ads or online auction sites.
Average Home Price Tops $264,000 in October
The U.S. national average purchase price for a single-family home reached $264,540 in October 2004, according to figures released by the Federal Housing Finance Board. The October 2004 average price compares with a national average one-family house purchase price of $243,756 in October 2003.
Consumers Warned of Online Payday Loan Sites
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is warning consumers to exercise extreme caution when using Internet payday loan sites, where loans due by the next payday, can cost up to $30 per $100 borrowed and borrowers typically face annual interest rates (APRs) of 650%.
USPS Mailing Tips for 2004 Holidays
According to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), 20 billion pieces of mail are delivered between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Want your letter, card or package to be one of them? Here are the mailing guidelines for the 2004 holiday season from the USPS. Note that some of these are new this year.
CPSC Issues Holiday 2004 Recalled Toy List
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued its 2004 holiday season list of recently recalled toys and children's products consumers may still find in stores.
Americans Enjoy Affordable Thanksgiving Feasts
A home-cooked, traditional Thanksgiving dinner – including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings - will cost an average of $3.57 this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Dealing With the "Check 21" Banking Law
A sweeping new banking law known as “Check 21” will go into effect beginning October 28, speeding up check processing and putting consumers at risk for more bounced checks and fees, warns Consumers Union. The consumer group is advising consumers to keep a careful eye on their bank statements in the coming months and issued a set of tips to avoid some of the law’s potentially negative impacts.
Park Service Unveils Wheelchair-friendly Playgrounds
More children with physical disabilities will now be able to enjoy a wheelchair-friendly playground, thanks to researchers at U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory.
CPSC Refutes Consumer Reports' Claims
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has defended itself against accusation leveled against them by Consumer Reports in its recent article entitled: "Hazard in aisle 5."
EPA - DOE Issue 2005 Vehicle Fuel Economy Ratings
The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have released their 2005 Fuel Economy Guide for passenger cars, small trucks and SUVs.
Government Pays 17,600 Passengers for Damaged Bag Claims
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirms that it has agreed to pay damages to more than 17,600 airline passengers who filed claims for property damaged or lost when their checked baggage was screened for explosives. Read more and get tips on how to prevent damaged baggage.
U.S. Seatbelt Use Hits Record High
A record 80 percent of Americans wear their seatbelts while driving or riding in their vehicles, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta announced. According to Mineta, the number of Americans wearing their seatbelts has increased dramatically over the past few years.
U.S. Postage Rates Not to Increase Until 2006
Postage rates will not increase until 2006, promises Postmaster General John E. Potter, citing aggressive cost cutting efforts that allowed the U.S. Postal Service to save $8.3 billion over the last three years.
US School Children At Risk from Heavy Backpacks
Parents take note -- when back to school shopping this year, there is one essential item that requires very special attention: your child's backpack.
CPSC Warns of Baby Drowning Dangers Around the Home
As part of Baby Safety Month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents and caregivers about in-home drowning hazards. "Summer is over and many pools are now closed, but drowning dangers never end," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "Parents of young children need to know there are other drowning hazards in and around the home."
Transportation Fatalities in US Decreased in 2003
Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased in 2003. Preliminary figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that 44,888 overall transportation fatalities were reported in 2003, down from 45,311 fatalities reported in 2002 statistics.
US Loan Brings Beverage Manufacturing to Afghanistan
Thanks to a $9.2 million loan from a U.S. Government agency, Afghanistan will be able to establish its first locally manufactured beverage facility, helping the country both meet a strong demand for clean drinking water and continue its economic reconstruction.
About U.S. Government Auto Auctions
It's easy and economical to purchase a pre-owned vehicle from the U.S. government. Join the thousands of people who buy at government auto auctions.
Los Alamos Missing Plutonium for 150 Nuclear Bombs
The beleaguered Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is unable to account for 765 kilograms of plutonium -- enough to make 150 nuclear weapons -- according to a letter from nuclear watchdog groups to LANL Director G. Peter Nanos.
Consumer Group Warns of Growing Fake Check Scam
The National Consumers League (NCL) has joined with the American Bankers Association (ABA) in warning consumers of the growing problem of fake check scams. Consumers who reported fake check scams to NCL’s fraud programs between January 1 and June 30, 2004 lost an average of $5,000. In many cases, the contact is initiated by email.
Private California School Teaches of 53 U.S. States
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has ordered a chain of private schools to stop handing out diplomas after officials learned that the school was teaching immigrants that there are 53 U.S. states, four branches of federal government and a plethora of other inaccurate information.
Wyoming Wild Horse Herd Faces Starvation
Citing the threat of imminent starvation, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has announced an emergency removal of all wild horses from northwest Wyoming, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
CAMRA: A Study of Government Waste?
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) has been named "Porker of the Month" by the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) for his sponsorship of a bill that would spend $90 million to study the effects of television viewing and other media on children.
Taking Vacation? Request to Have Your Mail Held Online
You spent months planning the perfect vacation and the time has finally come. The bags are packed, the car is loaded, and the dog's in the kennel. At the last minute you remember you haven't asked the Post Office to hold your mail while you're away. Well, just run back into the house, fire up your PC and get the job done. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) now offers customers the option of requesting that their mail be held from 3 to 30 days quickly and easily online.
BBB Warns of Imposters Targeting Consumers and Businesses
The Better Business Bureau system has issued a national alert to warn consumers and businesses about two questionable operations that are falsely using the BBB name to trick victims.
Community College Enrollment Soaring
Enrollment growth in America's community colleges outpaced all other major postsecondary institutions, according to a new issue brief released by the Center for Policy Analysis at the American Council on Education (ACE).
FTC Offers Advice on Dealing With Rising Gas Prices
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a Consumer Alert entitled, "Dubious ‘Gas-Saving’ Gadgets Can Drive You to Distraction," that informs consumers about both gas-saving devices with questionable benefit and "tried and true steps to deal with rising gas prices."
Dog, Cat Allergens Everywhere, Govt. Study Shows
Yes, you paid for it. A taxpayer-funded government study has found that levels of dog and cat allergens are higher in homes where dogs and cats live inside. Bet you didn't see that one coming.
AAPI Mid-summer Updates on Gasoline Prices, Supplies
Although higher than a year ago, gasoline prices continue to drop nationwide, according to the American Petroleum Institute's mid-summer 2004 update to Congress on U.S. gasoline prices and supplies.
Senate Helps DOE Abandon High-level Nuclear Waste
The U.S. Senate may have cleared the way for the Department of Energy (DOE) to virtually abandon, rather than clean up, millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste in leaking storage tanks by simply "reclassifying" it.
Social Security Recipients Warned of Scams
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning benefit recipients that they are currently the targets of a number of scams surfacing throughout the United States.
Small Banks Could be 'Regulated' Out of Existence
Complex new laws and regulations could spell the end of small community banks, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Vice Chairman John M. Reich stated in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
First Arrests Made Under CAN-SPAM Law
Lots of people thought the federal CAN-SPAM law would not be enforced or even taken seriously. Don't tell that to two Detroit-area men arrested for allegedly sending hundreds of thousands of spam email messages advertising diet patches and other devices, while using fake headers to hide their identities.
Register With the National Do-Not-Call List
Consumers who do not want to receive telemarketing calls can now place their phone numbers on the national "do not call list," a step federal officials say should drastically reduce their number of unwanted calls.
The Top Ten Dot Cons
Ah, the Internet! Once you're online, you invite hi-tech con artists into your home 24/7/365. From fraudulent online auctions to actually hijacking your modem, the danger is real. Learn how to detect and protect yourself from the top ten Dot-Cons.
Use Cyber Tipline to Report Deceptive Domain Porn Sites
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has announced the launch of its CyberTipline, an online resource for reporting Websites that trick minors into viewing pornographic and obscene materials.
CAN-SPAM Law Hits Sexually Oriented Email
Starting May 19, 2004, senders of sexually oriented spam will be required to include the warning "sexually explicit" in subject line of any email that contains sexually oriented material and in the electronic equivalent of a "brown paper wrapper" in the body of the message.
Deaths Bring CPSC Paintball Gun Warning
Based on its investigation of two deaths caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) canisters flying off paintball guns, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is issuing a new warning.
FDA Warns Against Internet-offered Baby Formula
The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that a product, Better Than Formula Ultra Infant Immune Booster 117, sold over the internet as a dietary supplement should not be fed to infants.
FDA Warns Women of Mercury Danger in Fish
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its first definitive consumer warning concerning fish and shellfish consumption for persons at risk from exposure to high mercury levels, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who may become pregnant, and young children.
FTC Warns of Envelope Stuffing Schemes
The ads promise easy money for simply stuffing envelopes, but according to Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, "Stuffing is fine for turkeys and stockings, but envelope-stuffing scams deserve a lump of coal." Learn how to keep from being taken for a work-at-home ride.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft complaints soared to 380,000 during 2002. Following these simple credit security tips from the Federal Trade Commission can help protect you, your identity and your money.
How To File a Telemarketing Complaint
The Federal Communication Commission has released specific steps consumers should take if they have put their names on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and are called by telemarketers on or after October 1, 2003. It provides information about what is a violation and specifics about how to file a complaint.
USDA to Require Healthy Recipes for School Lunches
Healthy recipes will be on the menu for school lunches under new federal rules proposed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) implementing the first major upgrade to the nutritional value of school meals in over 15 years.
What's Under Your Sink Could Kill You
A handy new online database from the National Institutes of Health provides useful, possibly even life-saving information on the potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 4,000 common household products.
'Phishing' For Your Identity
The FBI, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Earthlink have jointly issued a warning on how the growing ranks of Internet crooks are using new tricks called "phishing" and "spoofing" to steal your identity.
Back to "The Jungle" in Chicago
Federal charges have been filed against a Chicago-based food storage company after officials found over 22 million pounds of rodent-adulterated meats and other food products in their warehouses.
FTC Warns of Best Buy Email Scam
The FTC had warned that thousands of consumers may have fallen victim to identity theft by responding to a credit warning email from Best Buy. Here’s what to do and who to call if you were a victim.
Bush Backs GM Foods – US Consumers Do Not
Despite gaining a healthy endorsement from President Bush, genetically modified foods – 'Frankenfoods' - continue to be shunned by American consumers.
Sick Cruise Ship? CDC Can Tell You
Over 600 people, expecting a 'Love Boat' experience, just spent their cruises hugging nothing but the toilet in their stateroom. Learn where to check cruise ship sanitation online before you book.
Keepkidshealth.com -- Recall Database
A searchable and user-friendly database of product recalls. For example, you can search for all of the toy recalls from this year, show all of the household product recalls, or browse all of the recalls ever issued in reverse chronological order.
A comprehensive set of links to the federal government’s consumer resources and information.
From the Energy Department, this great site includes a gasoline price page with links to national and regional fuel price information and information on vehicle safety ratings and air pollution. How much is gas where you're going? Find out here.
Automobile Recall Database
Lookup all recalls on most makes and models of US and foreign cars, trucks and SUVs. A great service from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Chemical Safety Board
Fashioned after NTSB, the CSB works to ensure workplace and community safety through prevention and investigation of chemical-related accidents.
A joint effort by the FTC, FDA, NHTSA, and SEC presents the Web's best combined collection of recalls, warnings, and scam alerts.
Consumer Information Center - Pueblo, Colorado
The folks with all the free publications. Most can be had online from their Web site.
Anybody with email should read "Trouble @ the In-Box" from the FTC. Find out how to tell SPAM and SCAM when you see it.
EPA - Water on Tap: Consumer's Guide to the Nation's Drinking Water
How safe is America's domestic water supply? How much water does America Drink? How can we improve our water? What about the future?
FCC Consumer Information
The Federal Communications Commission will take a major roll in the future of the Internet.
A "gateway" to all of the government agencies involved in watching over the safety of food products.
The US Food Safety System
Two U.S. government agencies – the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- share primary responsibility of ensure the safety and quality of the nation’s food supply.
HUD Home Auctions
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regularly offers thousands of highly affordable homes and apartments for sale to the...
Household Products and Home Safety
A great selection of Yes/No type checklists and bulletins from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
How to Find Product Safety Information Online
Find out how to find product safety information online. Discover how to search for product safety complaints using government databases. See why product safety information is being posted online. Learn about the debate over posting product safety information on the Internet.
Internet Fraud Information
Definitions and examples of current types of internet fraud, plus what the Department of Justice is doing about it and how consumers can protect themselves.
7 Ways to Save the Postal Service
Read about the steps taken to save the Postal Service and how they will impact mail delivery. See how much money the post office is losing and why delivering mail is so costly. Learn why the Postal Service is losing money and how it can stop the bleeding.
Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing
Handy page from the Postal Service gives links to the DMV web sites of almost every state in the US. Something you just can't find when you need it.
Can You Deliver Mail Yourself In a Postal Service Shutdown?
If the U.S. Postal Service runs out of money and shuts down, can you deliver your mail yourself?