NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK: March 5 – 11, 2017
The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) encourages all Californians to observe National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) from March 5 through 11. You can learn more about National Consumer Protection Week, and find educational materials, at the NCPW website. The national coalition includes public and private sector partners in states across the U.S.
DBO has a year-round commitment to consumer protection, financial literacy and investor education. Links to DBO publications may be found at the DBO Consumer Education and Outreach page.
The DBO has issued consumer advisories on a variety of financial services topics. Some examples:
Know Your Lender
- DBO protects consumers and businesses engaged in loan transactions. To do that job, the DBO licenses and regulates a variety of lenders, including payday lenders and other non-bank consumer finance lenders. Before signing a loan agreement, consumers should always check the Licensee Search page on the DBO website to find out if the lender is licensed to do business in California. Learn more with DBO’s Know Your Lender consumer advisory.
Investment Broker-Dealer Fees
- DBO is an active member of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). NASAA research shows investors often are confused about the fees securities brokers charge for services and maintenance of customers’ accounts. The research also shows investors want clear and easy access to fee information from their brokerages. Learn more with DBO’s Understanding Broker-Dealer Fees consumer advisory.
'Asset Recovery' Scams
- “Asset recovery” companies contact consumers, tell them they’ve been victimized by investment fraud and promise to recover their money – for a payment of thousands of dollars up-front. In reality, the services they provide often don’t go much beyond what consumers can do themselves for free. Learn more with DBO’s Asset Recovery Companies consumer advisory.
Auto Title Loans - Be Careful
- The DBO urges consumers to exercise caution before borrowing money through an automobile title loan. These loans require you to put up ownership of your car as collateral. If you miss payments or default on the auto title loan, the lender can take your vehicle. Learn more with DBO’s Automobile Title Loan consumer advisory.
Mortgage Modification Fraud
- Financially stressed homeowners often are targeted by fraudsters through mortgage modification scams. Using abusive practices, such as collecting illegal advance fees, con artists have damaged the financial security of many Californians. Learn more with DBO’s Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud Alert consumer advisory.
Payday Loans - What Consumers Need to Know
- When consumers do business with unlicensed payday lenders, whether operating online or in storefronts, they’re less likely to benefit from the protections provided borrowers by state law. Those protections include limits on the dollar amount of payday loans and the fees consumers can be charged. Learn more with DBO’s Payday Lending consumer advisory.
Tax Preparation Pitfalls
- Taxpayers should take steps to protect themselves against a variety of hazards as they prepare and file their taxes. The DBO has issued advice for consumers about hidden fees, free tax preparation services for low-income taxpayers, and the high cost of refund anticipation checks and loans. Learn more with DBO’s Tax Preparation Pitfalls consumer advisory.
DBO provides consumers information and resources on a variety of financial services, including personal loans, mortgages and investments. The goal of the DBO’s education and outreach efforts is to provide consumers tools they need to make smart financial decisions and operate safely in the marketplace.
Key Consumer Links
Consumer Call Center
Call the DBO’s Consumer Call Center if you need information about financial service providers licensed by the DBO, or for help filing a complaint. Call 916-327-7585 or toll-free at 1-866-275-2677.