Handy Links

Consumer Protection (Oregon Department of Justice) | www.oregonconsumer.org
Use this site to 1) learn your rights as a consumer, 2) research databases for complaints against businesses, construction and landscape contractors, charities, etc., and 3) figure out what to do if you are a victim of theft or fraud. You can also call the DOJ’s consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392 for help and information.

Free Credit Reports | www.annualcreditreport.com
Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Transaction Act, you can now check your credit rating for free every 12 months. Each of the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - is required to provide you with one free report.

You can request your three free reports at one time or stagger them throughout the year. The reporting companies do not share information so checking your credit file with one company does not ensure that the same information is contained in your other two files.

You can also request free reports via:
Toll-Free Phone: 877-322-8228
Mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

However you make contact, be prepared to answer personal questions and to provide information about recent transactions and the size of outstanding loans for security purposes so they can verify you are who you say you are.

Government Recalls | www.recalls.gov
Visit www.recalls.gov to find out if the U.S. Government has recalled a particular product for being unsafe, hazardous, or defective. The site covers alerts issued for consumer products (including toys), motor vehicles, boats, food, medicine, cosmetics, and environmental products by six different federal agencies.

Help For New Immigrants | www.welcometousa.gov
The www.WelcometoUSA.gov web site is packed full of information for both newcomers to the United States and citizens who want to help immigrants. Visitors can find English classes and volunteer opportunities, learn about U.S. history and government, and apply for citizenship. The site also offers tips for finding a job, housing, health insurance, childcare, personal finance, and paying taxes among many other topics.

National Do Not Call Registry | www.donotcall.gov
The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

Get Off National Mailing Lists for Credit, Magazine, Catalog, and other Mail Order Offers | www.dmachoice.org
If you want to be removed from as many national mailing lists as possible, sign up for free at www.dmachoice.org and opt out of receiving most junk mail for a period of five years.

According to the web site: "DMAchoice is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. This site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers' concerns over the amount of mail they receive, and it is the evolution of the DMA's Mail Preference Service created in 1971.

"For the purposes of this site, direct mail is divided into four categories: Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers and Other Mail Offers. You can request to start or stop receiving mail from individual companies within each category-or from an entire category at once."

NeighborImpact | www.neighborimpact.org
NeighborImpact is a Central Oregon non-profit organization with the mission of breaking "the cycle of poverty by helping remove the barriers that prevent people from achieving economic self-sufficiency." Their free services include childcare resources, emergency services, family shelter, food bank, Head Start program, home ownership center, home rehabilitation loan program, weatherization, energy education, and transitional housing. NeighborImpact's home ownership specialists have helped many Central Oregonians cope with, and sometimes avoid, foreclosure.

Opt Out of PreApproved Credit Card Offers | www.OptOutPrescreen.com
One of the worst kinds of identity theft occurs when new accounts are opened in victims' names without their knowledge. One way you can protect yourself is by asking the three nationwide consumer reporting companies to take you off their list to receive preapproved credit card offers in the mail on www.OptOutPrescreen.com. You can still apply for any credit card offer you want; you just won't be receiving unsolicited offers in the mail anymore.

Oregon Helps! | www.oregonhelps.org
This web site has a convenient online form to help you quickly determine your eligibility for government assistance programs. You will need to have your income, mortgage/rent, real estate taxes, and home fire insurance amounts on hand.