Personal Finance: Consumer Protection
ALA Recommended Books
- The Vigilant Investor by Making sound investments is tough enough without having to worry about unscrupulous financial advisers and outright frauds. But recently strengthened laws aren't enough to stop the "professionals' intent on profiting from-or just plain stealing-your money. As an Enforcement Branch Chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission, PatHuddleston witnessed countless people lose their life savings to reckless stockbrokers and fraudulent schemes. Now an SEC-recommended Receiver and CEO of a securities and investment fraud investigation agency, Huddleston has intimate knowledge of how scam artists and bad brokers operate. In The Vigilant Investor, he explains WHY we fall for investment scams, HOW con artists play on our emotions, and WHAT we can do to protect ourselves from predators. With its unique look into the science of financial decision making, the book blows up the popular myths and simplistic "do's and don'ts' of investing while sharing techniques anyone can use to perform due diligence even better than the "experts.' With gripping stories of actual cases, Huddleston sheds light on the dark corners of the investment industry and teaches investors and professionals alike how to spot fraud and guard themselves against financial catastrophe. "Call Number: 332.6 HUDISBN: 9780814417508Publication Date: 2011
- The Wizard of Lies byCall Number: 364.163 HENISBN: 9780805091342Publication Date: 2011
- All You Can Pay by You don't care who can access your data because you have nothing to hide. But what if corporations were using that data to control your decisions? As millions of consumers carry on unaware, powerful corporations race to collect more and more data about our behaviors, needs, and desires. This massive trove of data represents one of the most valuable assets on the planet. In All You Can Pay, Anna Bernasek and D. T. Mongan show how companies use what they know about you to determine how much you are willing to pay for everything you buy. From college tuition to plane tickets to groceries to medicine, companies already set varying prices based on intimate knowledge of individual wants and purchasing power. As the consumer age fades into history, rapidly changing prices and complex offers tailored to each individual are spreading like a fog over the free market. Data giants know everything about us before we enter stores or open our browsers. We may think that the Internet lets us find the best deals, but the extensive information companies have about us means that the price we see tends toward the maximum they know we can pay. In a momentous shift, the economics of information will turn our economy on its head. Fair bargaining is over.Call Number: RCLSISBN: 9781568584744Publication Date: 2015
- Our Bodies, Our Data by How the hidden trade in our sensitive medical information became a multibillion-dollar business, but has done little to improve our health-care outcomes Hidden to consumers, patient medical data has become a multibillion-dollar worldwide trade industry between our health-care providers, drug companies, and a complex web of middlemen. This great medical-data bazaar sells copies of the prescription you recently filled, your hospital records, insurance claims, blood-test results, and more, stripped of your name but possibly with identifiers such as year of birth, gender, and doctor. As computing grows ever more sophisticated, patient dossiers become increasingly vulnerable to reidentification and the possibility of being targeted by identity thieves or hackers. Paradoxically, comprehensive electronic files for patient treatment-the reason medical data exists in the first place-remain an elusive goal. Even today, patients or their doctors rarely have easy access to comprehensive records that could improve care. In the evolution of medical data, the instinct for profit has outstripped patient needs. This book tells the human, behind-the-scenes story of how such a system evolved internationally. It begins with New York advertising man Ludwig Wolfgang Frohlich, who founded IMS Health, the world's dominant health-data miner, in the 1950s. IMS Health now gathers patient medical data from more than 45 billion transactions annually from 780,000 data feeds in more than 100 countries. Our Bodies, Our Datauncovers some of Frohlich's hidden past and follows the story of what happened in the following decades. This is both a story about medicine and medical practice, and about big business and maximizing profits, and the places these meet, places most patients would like to believe are off-limits. Our Bodies, Our Dataseeks to spark debate on how we can best balance the promise big data offers to advance medicine and improve lives while preserving the rights and interests of every patient. We, the public, deserve a say in this discussion. After all, it's our data.Call Number: RCLSISBN: 9780807033340Publication Date: 2017
- Retirement Heist by "'As far as I can determine there is only one solution [to the CEO's demand to save more money]', the HR representative wrote to her superiors. 'That would be the death of all existing retirees.'" It's no secret that hundreds of companies have been slashing pensions and health coverage earned by millions of retirees. Employers blame an aging workforce, stock market losses, and spiraling costs- what they call "a perfect storm" of external forces that has forced them to take drastic measures. But this so-called retirement crisis is no accident. Ellen E. Schultz, award-winning investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, reveals how large companies and the retirement industry-benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks-have all played a huge and hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits. A little over a decade ago, most companies had more than enough set aside to pay the benefits earned by two generations of workers, no matter how long they lived. But by exploiting loopholes, ambiguous regulations, and new accounting rules, companies essentially turned their pension plans into piggy banks, tax shelters, and profit centers. Drawing on original analysis of company data, government filings, internal corporate documents, and confidential memos, Schultz uncovers decades of widespread deception during which employers have exaggerated their retiree burdens while lobbying for government handouts, secretly cutting pensions, tricking employees, and misleading shareholders. She reveals how companies: Siphon billions of dollars from their pension plans to finance downsizings and sell the assets in merger deals Overstate the burden of rank-and-file retiree obligations to justify benefits cuts while simultaneously using the savings to inflate executive pay and pensions Hide their growing executive pension liabilities, which at some companies now exceed the liabilities for the regular pension plans Purchase billions of dollars of life insurance on workers and use the policies as informal executive pension funds. When the insured workers and retirees die, the company collects tax-free death benefits Preemptively sue retirees after cutting retiree health benefits and use other legal strategies to erode their legal protections. Though the focus is on large companies-which drive the legislative agenda-the same games are being played at smaller companies, non-profits, public pensions plans and retirement systems overseas. Nor is this a partisan issue: employees of all political persuasions and income levels-from managers to miners, pro- football players to pilots-have been slammed. Retirement Heist is a scathing and urgent expose of one of the most critical and least understood crises of our time.Call Number: RCLSISBN: 9781591843337Publication Date: 2011
- The Aisles Have Eyes by A revealing and surprising look at the ways that aggressive consumer advertising and tracking, already pervasive online, are coming to a retail store near you By one expert's prediction, within twenty years half of Americans will have body implants that tell retailers how they feel about specific products as they browse their local stores. The notion may be outlandish, but it reflects executives' drive to understand shoppers in the aisles with the same obsessive detail that they track us online. In fact, a hidden surveillance revolution is already taking place inside brick-and-mortar stores, where Americans still do most of their buying. Drawing on his interviews with retail executives, analysis of trade publications, and experiences at insider industry meetings, advertising and digital studies expert Joseph Turow pulls back the curtain on these trends, showing how a new hyper-competitive generation of merchants--including Macy's, Target, and Walmart--is already using data mining, in-store tracking, and predictive analytics to change the way we buy, undermine our privacy, and define our reputations. Eye-opening and timely, Turow's book is essential reading to understand the future of shopping.Call Number: RCLSISBN: 9780300212198Publication Date: 2017
- The Empire of Things by "Empire of Things isn't just an insightful and surprisingly entertaining read, but a crucial one."--NPR What we consume has become a central--perhaps the central--feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by spending, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions, and this ever-richer lifestyle has had an extraordinary impact on our planet. How have we come to live with so much stuff, and how has this changed the course of history? In Empire of Things, Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary story of our modern material world, from Renaissance Italy and late Ming China to today's global economy. While consumption is often portrayed as a recent American export, this monumental and richly detailed account shows that it is in fact a truly international phenomenon with a much longer and more diverse history. Trentmann traces the influence of trade and empire on tastes, as formerly exotic goods like coffee, tobacco, Indian cotton and Chinese porcelain conquered the world, and explores the growing demand for home furnishings, fashionable clothes and convenience that transformed private and public life. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought department stores, credit cards and advertising, but also the rise of the ethical shopper, new generational identities and, eventually, the resurgence of the Asian consumer. With an eye to the present and future, Frank Trentmann provides a long view on the global challenges of our relentless pursuit of more--from waste and debt to stress and inequality. A masterpiece of research and storytelling many years in the making, Empire of Things recounts the epic history of the goods that have seduced, enriched and unsettled our lives over the past six hundred years.Call Number: RCLSISBN: 9780062456328Publication Date: 2016
American Library Association. Financial Literacy in Public Libraries: A Guide for Building Collections.
My thanks go to ALA for inventing this wheel for me.
Thrall Library's Links for Investors.
CFPB's list of financial educational resources
- Better Business Bureau A resource for finding businesses that uphold best practices and standards for customer service and or quality.
- CFPB Consumer Complaint Portal Instructions for submitting a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about an array of financial products and services.
- Consumer Action Handbook Free handbook covering consumer tips and rights, with information about consumer protection offices maintained by government agencies.
- Consumer Complaint Database A database from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that tracks anonymous consumer complaints.
- Eldercare Locator A resource from the U.S. Administration on Aging that helps families looking for eldercare assistance across the United States.
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information Starting point for consumer information from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Fraud Protection Tools to Help Safeguard Servicemembers Fraud protection resources for active-duty personnel and their family members from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- How to Avoid Fraud A primer on investment fraud prevention from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) A site for reporting suspicious activities to the FBI.
- Investor Alerts Timely and reliable investor alerts from FINRA.
- NASAA Fraud Center Investor protection information from the North American Securities Administrators Association.
- National Center on Elder Abuse A federal agency offering guidance to prevent financial and other forms of senior abuse.
- OnGuardOnline.gov A federal government website dedicated to online safety.
- Protect Your Money FINRA’s tools and guidance to help recognize and avoid financial fraud and scams.
- SaveAndInvest.org, Fraud Center Interactive tools, games, and information from the FINRA Foundation to counter fraud tactics.
- Scams & Safety An FBI site to help consumers avoid victimization.
- State Consumer Protection Offices A convenient list of state-level consumer protection offices.
- U.S. Consumer Protection Basics Easy-to-understand U.S. Government information on various consumer protection topics related to personal finance.
- Ask and Check Essential information and interactive utilities to help investors avoid fraud.
- Aviation Consumer Protection Information from the U.S. Department of Transportation about filing civil rights and consumer complaints against airlines.
- Dealing with Your Insurance Company: How to Protect Yourself Consumer protection information related to buying insurance and filing claims.
- FDIC Consumer Protection Information Consumer protection information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal agency charged with maintaining stability in the nation’s financial system.
- Investor’s Guide to Securities Industry Disputes Information from the Pace Law School Investor Rights Clinic about preventing and resolving a dispute with a broker. Describes the arbitration and mediation processes.
- National Consumer Law Center NCLC’s “For Consumers” section offers consumer education brochures, as well as information about how to get legal assistance for consumer issues.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Complaint and Appeals Process Complaints and appeals instructions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Includes information about the complaint processes for Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration.