United States

Federal Agencies and Consumer Watchdogs

  1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

    The FTC has the broadest enforcement jurisdiction over consumer issues in the United States. The mandate of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers against unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices offline and on the Internet The FTC's website has information for the consumers and a list of resources to inform and aware consumers ranging from consumer and business information to cases, public comments, legislation and workshops.

    The FTC's “Dewie the e-Turtle” was launched in an effort to help consumers keep their personal data safe online. The website includes resources such as guides to using broadband services safely, tips for online shopping security, and tools to help prevent spam. It also provides links to law enforcement agencies that handle cybercrime issues and features information for children, workshops, events and even contains a section with documents in Spanish.

    FTC Documents

  2. First Gov For Consumers

    It is a comprehensive website containing consumer information and resources available online and maintained by various federal agencies and consumer organizations in the US. The website is organized by category and each category has subcategories to direct consumers to areas within individual federal web sites that contain information on enforcement agencies and tips to avoid scams.

  3. Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)

    A partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) in the United States. Its mission is to address and combat fraud committed over the Internet.

  4. National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)

    Founded in 1907 and assists in the delivery of legal services to the States and territorial jurisdictions including victims of consumer fraud on the Internet. NAAG's website contains a full contact list of attorney generals by state for filing complaints.

  5. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

    Offers information and tips on avoiding Internet fraud when investing, and a mechanism to register Internet fraud and Spam complaints for further investigation.

  6. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

    Preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions, identifies, monitors and address risks to the deposit insurance funds; and limits the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank or thrift institution fails. The website has section on consumer protection financial resources to educate and protect consumers, including laws, regulations and related acts on consumer protection in the financial sector.

Industry Groups and Private Organizations

  1. The Consumer Confidence Group of the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe)

    The GBDe is an industry group composed of major American corporations such as Daimler-Chrysler, Hewlett Packard and NEC that seek to reach the potential of the B2C marketplace and enhance consumer confidence. The GBDe's website contains five component groups: ADR, Cyber Ethics, Internet Payments, Protection of Personal Data and Trustmarks. Each of these component groups has its own separate section of the Consumer Confidence web site. This working group has developed a list of documents and recommendations in conjunction with other consumer organizations like Consumers International.

  2. Better Business Bureau (BBB)

    The BBB is a self-regulatory program in the U.S. and extends to other countries like Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Canada. It was funded in 1912 by a membership base of more than 300,000 businesses. The BBB's core services include: Business Reliability Reports; Dispute Resolution; Truth-in-Advertising; Consumer and Business Education; and Charity Review. The BBBOnline's Consumer Safe Shopping section provides a wide variety of helpful publications, information, seals and other resources to both consumers and businesses that help them make better-informed decisions.

  3. American Bar Association (ABA), Consumer Protection Committee

    This Committee monitors and reports on developments in the law of false or deceptive advertising, unfair trade practices, and illegal marketing including regulations pursuant to COPPA, GLBA and HIPPA, the EU Directive on Data Privacy, the US/EC Safe Harbor Agreement, and federal and state regulation of online profiling, the use of cookies, web bugs, and other means of collecting consumers' personal information. The Committee runs a list serve within the Section on Antitrust Law, with over 300 members.

  4. Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)

    A forum of 45 European and 20 US consumer organizations that develop and agree joint consumer policy recommendations to their respective governments to promote and strengthen the consumer interest and policy making between Europe and the US. The website contains a list of documents, most of which are related to consumer protection in e-commerce.

  5. Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC)

    An independent, non-governmental initiative involving leaders from developing as well as industrialized countries and its purpose is to foster private sector leadership and private-public sector cooperation in the development of information networks and services to advance global economic growth, education and quality of life.

    GIIC Policy Papers

  6. Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI)

    A joint project of the Center of Democracy and Technology and Internews that works in developing countries to promote the adoption of legal and regulatory frameworks that will support the growth of an open, affordable and user-controlled Internet -an Internet that can drive economic growth and advance human development. GIPI's local policy coordinators are working in 15 countries to convene dialogue and build informed consensus among all stakeholders, providing objective expertise on policy issues, commenting on draft legislation, and assisting policymakers and civil society in achieving a better understanding of the legal environment needed for the Internet to develop.

  7. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

    An American association for businesses interested in direct and interactive marketing, with more than 5,000 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. The DMA works to ensure that consumers in the online environment are afforded opportunities to learn about products and services of interest to them and to express their preferences regarding marketers' use of information. The DMA has published two guides: “Getting CyberSavy a New User Guide to Going Online” and “Get Cybersavy, a Family Guide”. Both websites contain relevant information and tips for new users, families, children and educators.

Public Interest Consumer Organizations

  1. The National Consumers League (NCL)

    A private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues and is the oldest consumer organization in the US. NCL provides government, businesses and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns including child labor, food safety, medication information and privacy. It is part of multiple project and alliances to educate consumer and protect them against fraud on the Internet such as the National Fraud Information Center, Internet Fraud Watch, Alliance Against Fraud in Telemarketing and Electronic Commerce. NCL has information brochures and documents for consumers to shop safely online.

  2. National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACAA)

    A non-profit association for government consumer protection agency administrators established in 1976 in Washington, D.C. NACAA represents over 160 consumer agencies at all levels of government in the United States and several other countries. NACAA works directly with consumers to solve problems, advance relevant legislation and support consumer outreach and education.

  3. National Fraud Information Centre (NFIC)

    A project of the National Consumers League (NCL) that provides information on telemarketing and Internet fraud and scam against business. It has a call center information number and online complaint forms for consumers.

  4. National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)

    A consumer advocate group, which helps consumers, advocates, and public policy makers use consumer protection laws on behalf of low-income and vulnerable Americans seeking economic justice. The website has a section on e-commerce that contains documents, testimonials and reports on UCITA and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign Act).

  5. Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech)

    It is a project originally started by Ralph Nader in 1995, and currently focuses on intellectual property rights and health care, electronic commerce, privacy and competition policy, including the proposed Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters and UNCITRAL Convention on Electronic Contracting.

  6. Consumer WebWatch

    A three-year, grant-funded project of Consumers Union the non-for profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, the Consumer Reports Travel Letter and the Consumer Reports Health Letter. It conducts research, through the promotion of guidelines for best practices and other analytical means in order to improve consumer trust in the World Wide Web.

    Research Report: A Matter of Trust: What Users Want From Web Sites
    Results of a National Survey of Internet Users for Consumer WebWatch by Princeton Survey Research Associates, published April 16, 2002

  7. Consumer Action

    A non-profit organization based in San Francisco. The website contains a section on privacy, frauds and scams and news on consumer protection. The site also contains information and materials in Spanish.

  8. Consumer Alert

    Organization founded in 1977 as a national, non-profit membership organization for people concerned about excessive growth of government regulation at the national and state levels. Consumer Alert is dedicated to informing the public about the consumer benefits of competitive enterprise and to promoting sound economic, scientific, and risk data in public policy decisions.

  9. Consumer Federation of America (CFA)

    An advocacy, research, education, and service organization, which work to advance pro-consumer policy on a variety of issues. CFA website includes information about recent press releases, consumer publications, state and local consumer groups, consumer cooperatives, and links to other consumer websites.

  10. Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

    A public interest research center based in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and American constitutional values. EPIC has an extensive number of publications including documents and submissions to the US Congress related to Internet consumer protection.

    Privacy and Human Rights Report 2004. An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments.

  11. The Public Voice

    A project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute. It was established to promote public participation in Internet policy making on issues ranging from privacy and free expression to consumer protection and Internet governance.

  12. Digital Consumer.org

    An organization that provides information on digital copyright law for consumers that download music on the Internet. Digital Consumer has created a Consumer Technology Bill of Rights that seeks to strike a balance between fair use and the right to download music on the Internet.

  13. Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)

    An American nonprofit organization based on San Diego, CA that focuses exclusively on providing information on identity theft. The website contains information and resources on identity theft, scan and consumer alerts, including information in Spanish.

  14. Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)

    Founded in 1994 in Washington, D.C., to promote democratic values and human rights for the digital age. With a mix of expertise in law, technology and public policy, CDT combines the roles of convener, advocate and think tank, working for practical, real-world solutions that enhance free expression, privacy, open access and democracy in the rapidly evolving global communications networks.

  15. American Council of Consumer Interests (ACCI)

    A non-profit organization devoted to consumer policy research and education consisting of a worldwide community of researchers, educators and related professionals dedicated to enhancing consumer well being. ACCI provides information about consumer publications, policies, resources and information on academic programs in the fields of consumer economics, consumer studies, personal financial management and family economics.

  16. Public Citizen

    A national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts. Public Citizen fights for openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care.

  17. Consumers Union

    An independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving the consumer interests. This organization provides a comprehensive source for unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health and nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Consumers Union is probably the most influential organization on policy making affecting consumer interests in North America and is the publisher of Consumer Reports, a monthly magazine that contains useful tips and information on a wide variety of consumer products in North America. The website of Consumer Unions contains information on areas such as health care, food, phone & media, money and product safety, including resources in Spanish.

  18. Other Consumer Organizations