Don't get ripped off

Don't Get Ripped Off

After Wall Street practices brought down the entire U.S. and parts of the world economies, Congress finally stepped up in July 2010 and created the Maryland PIRG Students-backed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new agency that will act as a counterbalance to the banks and ensure that the credit cards, mortgages, and student loans that consumers use are safe and easy to understand. When you have a complaint about a bank or credit card company, you can call on the new CFPB.

Our economy needs to be fair to consumers in order to function. While a company may make a short-term profit from ripping off consumers or putting an unsafe product on the market, it's not good for anyone in the long term. 

Our consumer program works to protect consumers by:

  • Alerting the publice to hidden dangers, scams, and unsafe products
  • Educating consumers about the choices available by conducting price surveys of various products and services available to students in an effort to allow them to the make the best choices for themselves.
  • Educating consumers about their rights in the marketplace by producing consumer guides to help people navigate the marketplace.
  • Advocating for change by working to build the support it takes to pass consumer protection legislation in our states and in D.C.

As students, we're particularly vulnerable to some specific consumer issues:

Issue updates

Report | Maryland PIRG Students | Consumer Protection

Data Breach? Tips for protecting yourself

This winter a data breach at UMD compromised names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and University identification numbers for UMD students, staff, alumni, and faculty who have had university ID’s since 1998.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

How to protect yourself from the security bug Heartbleed | Emily Scarr

Heartbleed is a recently discovered hole in the security software used by most major websites – everyone from Amazon to Yahoo to eBay – that may have allowed hackers to access consumers’ passwords or credit card information. Websites are now scrambling to fix this bug.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CONSUMERS AT RISK: TIPS WHEN EXPERIENCING A DATA SECURITY BREACH | Maryland PIRG Students

In light of the recent news on campus, MaryPIRG Student Chapters want to remind students that there are ways to protect yourself and your personal information. These tips were put together with the help of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), Consumer Action and U.S. PIRG. For more tips, you can access our guide “Avoid the Debt Trap: How to avoid rip-offs, manage your debt, and make financial decisions for your future.” You can find the full guide here.

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Avoid the Debt Trap

Summary

Avoid The Debt Trap provides you with the tools to avoid misleading and predatory practices by financial institutions and the knowledge you need to protect yourself, empowering students as financial consumers. This guide will help you understand and manage the basics of personal finance: banks, bank accounts, ATMs, bank fees, credit & debit cards, credit scores, budgeting, debt collection, ID theft, and financial privacy.

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New Report Identifies Most Troublesome Private Lenders to Students

Thousands of American students are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes about private student loans.

Sallie Mae, the student lending giant, generated the most private student loan complaints nationally, and ranked first or tied for first in every single state. Student loan borrowers in the U.S. carry $24,803 on average in total student loan debt.

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