ID Theft & Privacy Checklists

Here are U.S. PIRG's identity theft and privacy tips, including descriptions of different types of ID theft; checklists for preventing, detecting, and resolving ID theft; a checklist for protecting your online privacy; and links to additional resources. These documents can also be downloaded here.

Types of Identity Theft

There are a variety of ways stolen data can be used, depending on what was taken. Different types of ID theft and fraud include:

Financial Identity Theft  

Existing Account Fraud

If a thief obtains a credit or debit card number, the thief can access existing bank and credit accounts for in-person transactions.

New Account Identity Theft

With a full name and Social Security number (SSN), a thief can open new credit accounts.

Health Care/Medical Fraud

With a full name, birthdate, SSN (and sometimes an existing health insurance account number), a thief can attempt to receive benefits and services in your name.

Social Security Benefits Fraud

With a full name, birthdate, and SSN, a thief can try to open a “my Social Security” (MySSA) account in your name and change your direct deposit information to his or her own checking account. Coupled with other information that can easily be found online, such as place of birth, a thief can also try to claim your benefits over the phone.  

Tax Refund Fraud

With a full name, birthdate, and SSN a thief can attempt to file your taxes and claim your refund.

Other Fraud

With a full name, birthdate, SSN, and driver’s license number (which can be turned into a fake license card), a thief can attempt numerous types of fraud, such as applying for a job, getting insurance, renting a home, or even committing crimes in your name.

Reputational & Physical Harm

Some breaches involve personal information that can be used to blackmail, stalk, or otherwise inflict reputational or physical harm against data breach victims.

Phishing

With just a phone number or email address, a thief can use “phishing” scams to attempt to collect more information needed to commit any of the above more severe crimes.

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Use these checklists to help you prevent, detect, and resolve identity theft.

Preventing Identity Theft

The first key to protecting yourself from ID theft is prevention.

ID Theft Prevention for Online & Electronic Activity

  • Consider locking your laptop at your work desk or when you’re in a public place.

  • Set passwords for your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Use six digits instead of four for your smartphone password.

  • Set online account passwords that include at least 10 characters and a combination of capital letters, numbers, and symbols in the middle of the password, not the beginning or end.

  • Avoid using the same password for different accounts. Consider using a password manager.

  • Turn on two-factor authentication for your online accounts if available. You will receive additional codes for accessing your online accounts, in addition to your passwords.

  • Keep all software updated. Turn on automatic updates for all software, including antivirus programs.

  • Don’t show information on social networking sites that is commonly used to verify your identity, such as date of birth, city of birth, mother’s maiden name, name of high school, etc. If you do, don't use that information to verify your identity.

  • Turn on your laptop’s firewall and turn off file sharing and “network discovery” for public Wi-Fi connections.

  • Turn off automatic connections to Wi-Fi networks on your electronic devices.

  • Send personal information online through fully encrypted websites or apps. Encrypted websites start with https. The non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation has the HTTPS Everywhere extension for your web browser that will make sure you’re using encrypted communications on websites that support encryption. In addition to using encrypted websites, online transactions are best conducted over secure encrypted Wi-Fi connections or your phone’s data network, versus an unsecure Wi-Fi connection.

  • Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when in public.

  • Secure your home router. Steps for doing so are available on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

  • Disable Bluetooth connections on devices when not in use.

  • Watch out for “phishing” scams where identity thieves request personal information by pretending to be a legitimate entity, such as a bank or the IRS. Ignore unsolicited requests for personal information by email, links, pop-up windows, texts, or over the phone - and only contact entities by means you know to be legitimate. For example, if you receive a call purportedly from your bank’s security department, don’t give out information. Instead, call the number on your bank card and ask for the security department.

  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards for all online and in-person purchases if possible. Consumers have more legal protections against fraud with credit cards and can also avoid having to wait for stolen funds from checking accounts to be replenished. Consider only carrying debit cards for trips to the ATM or cash-back transactions.

  • Sign up for your “my Social Security” (MySSA) account. This will help prevent a scammer from opening an account in your name and changing your direct deposit information to his or her own checking account. A credit freeze on your Equifax credit report will also block the creation of a MySSA account because the Social Security Administration uses Equifax credit reports for identity verification.

  • Dispose of your old computers and mobile devices safely to keep data out of the wrong hands. You’ll want to look up steps for your specific device, but below are basic steps.

For computers: Save data you want to keep and transfer, “wipe” or overwrite your hard drive many times, and keep it out of the landfill by recycling, donating, or reselling it. (Deleted files can still be recovered if you don’t wipe your hard drive clean many times.)

For mobile devices: Backup your phone, reset your device, remove or erase SD & SIM cards, and keep it out of the landfill by recycling, donating, reselling, or trading it.

ID Theft Prevention for Offline Activity

  • Do not disclose your full nine-digit Social Security number unless absolutely necessary, and never use it as an identifier or password. Question those who ask for it. If someone calls claiming to be from your bank security department, it’s best to hang up and call the number on your card.

  • Lock your records and financial documents at home.

  • Lock your mailbox if it is lockable.

  • Shred documents containing personal information (name, account numbers, any part of your social security number, and birthdate) before throwing them away.

  • Opt-out of pre-approved (pre-screened) credit & insurance offers. Credit and insurance companies buy “prescreened” lists from the credit bureaus to make pre-approved offers to prospective customers. While such offers provide consumers with information about possible credit options, identity thieves may steal these pre-approved offers and apply for them with your personal information. Optoutprescreen.com is the official website where by law you can opt out of receiving these offers for five years or permanently. You can also opt back in any time. Note that this action only slows credit card and loan offers as only credit bureaus are subject to this rule. Airlines or retailers or others you do business with are not.

  • Use the chip side of chip enabled cards, instead of the magnetic strip side, for in-person purchases whenever possible. Beware devices called skimmers and shimmers that criminals install on ATMs and card readers at checkout lines or gas pumps to steal your credit card information. When using ATMs and card readers, look and touch for signs of tampering, such as mismatched colors or loose parts. Always cover your hand while hand typing a PIN, and avoid using ATMs in secluded locations. ATMs at banks are the least likely to have skimmers.

  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards for online and in-person purchases if possible. Consumers have more legal protections against fraud with credit cards and can also avoid waiting for stolen funds from checking accounts to be restored.

  • Watch out for “phishing” scams where identity thieves request personal information by pretending to be a legitimate entity, such as a bank or the IRS. Ignore unsolicited requests for personal information by email, links, pop-up windows, texts, or over the phone - and only contact entities by means you know to be legitimate. For example, if you receive a call purportedly from your bank’s security department, don’t give out information. Instead, call the number on your bank card and ask for the security department.

  • Place credit freezes on your credit reports. The “Credit Freezes: How to Prevent New Account Identity Theft” section of this report explains how to freeze your credit reports.

  • File your taxes as soon as possible to help prevent tax refund fraud. A fraudster can still file taxes in your name even if you’re not required to file taxes or aren’t eligible for a refund. Also, some people qualify for an Identity Protection (IP) PIN that must be entered before a tax filing can be submitted. The IP PIN is available to identity theft victims and is also currently offered to all taxpayers in Florida, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., as part of a pilot program.

  • Protect your deceased loved ones from identity theft by notifying appropriate institutions of their deaths.

Detecting Identity Theft

  • Check your monthly statements for unauthorized charges. Be suspicious of phone calls about surprise debts.

  • Sign up to receive email and/or text notifications of account activity and changes to account information.

  • Instead of paying for over-priced subscription credit monitoring, use your free annual credit reports as your own credit monitoring service. Every 12 months, federal law gives you the right to receive one free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Instead of requesting three at the same time, request one credit report from one of the bureaus every four months. Verify that the information is correct and that accounts have not been opened without your knowledge. Free credit reports are available online at AnnualCreditReport.com, by phone at 1-877-322-8228, or by mail. There are other non-official sites that offer free reports too. Beware of sites that promise free reports and credit scores but may use trial-offer gimmicks to urge you to switch to paid credit monitoring or other services. There are some sites that offer no strings attached, free services - just expect to see ads. And know that the credit scores on those sites are most likely not FICO scores as used by most creditors.

  • There are many other consumer reporting companies besides the three big nationwide credit bureaus that specialize in collecting other types of information about you, including bounced check activity, criminal and other public records, employment information, insurance claims, and tenant history. Requesting free reports with these specialty bureaus every year could help you spot various fraudulent activities done in your name. Note that many of these companies will not have files on you at all. For example, if you’ve never had a bank account closed for “bounced check activity,” it is likely that you won’t have files at bounced check specialty bureaus.

  • Sign up for your “my Social Security” (MySSA) account. Even if you don’t receive social security benefits yet, checking your MySSA account can help you spot changes to your personal information that might indicate thieves trying to claim your benefits over the phone.

  • Request your driving record to help spot traffic violations committed in your name.

  • Sign up for online accounts with your health care and insurance providers to monitor any fraudulent services on your statements.

  • Be alert to notices about a tax return already filed, additional taxes you owe, refund offsets, collection for a year you didn't file, or records showing income from an employer for whom you did not work.

  • Check if your online accounts have been hacked. Have I Been Pwned is a free tool you can use to check whether your online accounts may have been compromised in data breaches.

Resolving Identity Theft

  • Take the following steps to resolve new account identity theft:

Step 1: Notify your financial institutions. If you discover that your wallet, checkbook, credit card, or other sensitive information has been lost or stolen, immediately notify the issuing bank, credit card issuer, or relevant institution to close all existing accounts.

Step 2: Get copies of your credit reports and place fraud alerts on them. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get freezes.

Step 3: File an Identity Theft Report. If you suspect identity theft, report it to the Federal Trade Commission using the online complaint form at identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT.

Step 4: You might decide to file a police report.

  • Visit Identitytheft.gov, the government’s official website that will walk you through clear checklists of actions you can take to recover from new account identity theft and other types of fraud.

Credit Freezes: How to Prevent New Account Identity Theft

Defense against any kind of identity theft starts with vigilance about protecting your personal information by taking steps such as creating secure passwords, keeping your social security number private, and shredding personal documents.

However, if and when someone does steal your information, there are a variety of ways it can be used, depending on what was taken. One of those uses is known as new account identity theft, where someone opens a new account in your name and then proceeds to rack up a ton of debt. New account identity theft can be prevented by getting security freezes, also known as credit freezes.

What Are Credit Freezes & Why Should I Get Them?

A credit freeze blocks potential creditors such as a credit card company, a cell phone company, or a lender from viewing your credit report, which shows your credit history. Most creditors will not issue new credit to a customer if they cannot see that customer’s credit report or the credit score derived from it from at least one of the three big nationwide consumer reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. (Consumer reporting agencies are also known as credit bureaus.) By blocking creditors from accessing your credit report, you’re stopping identity thieves who apply for new accounts in your name with your stolen Social Security number.

Credit freezes do not affect your ability to use existing credit you already have, such as a credit card or loan. Nor do freezes affect your credit score. In fact, freezes help protect your score by preventing your credit from being negatively scored if someone racks up debt in your name.

You can easily remove a freeze or “thaw” your credit report when you want to apply for new credit. Freezes can be temporarily or permanently removed when you want.

Because creditors run credit checks with any one or a combination of the three big credit bureaus, you need to block access to your reports with all three.

What Are the Differences Between Credit Freezes, Credit Locks, Credit Monitoring, and Fraud Alerts?

Credit locks offered by the credit bureaus appear to block access to credit reports the same way that credit freezes do. Therefore, freezes and locks both deny thieves the ability to open fake accounts in your name.

However, freezes are a right mandated by law, while locks are conditional on terms of use agreements that are set by the credit bureaus and could change at any time. Your rights as a consumer are on stronger ground with freezes. Whether you chose to get freezes or locks, remember you’ll need to get them at all three national credit bureaus.

Fraud alerts don’t block access to your credit reports, but they do notify creditors that they should try to verify your identity before opening a new account in your name. If you choose not to block access to your reports at the three main credit bureaus, you should at least place fraud alerts on your reports.

Credit monitoring alerts you to changes to your credit reports, which can help you spot unauthorized credit accounts opened in your name. Credit monitoring can only help detect new account identity theft after it has already occurred, not prevent it.

How Much Do Freezes Cost And When Do They Become Free Nationwide?

A new federal law eliminated fees for getting and removing credit freezes across the country at all big three credit bureaus on September 21st, 2018.

Do I Need to Freeze My Report with Other Credit Reporting Agencies?

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists, there are many other consumer reporting companies besides the three big nationwide providers of consumer reports. Some websites have recommended getting freezes with Innovis and ChexSystems, but as far as we know, their reports are not used by creditors for credit approvals.  

However, some news outlets have reported fraudulent accounts being opened by cell phone companies using credit reports provided by the National Consumer Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). We therefore also recommend freezing your credit report at NCTUE, in addition to at the big three credit bureaus.

How to Freeze (and Unfreeze) Your Credit Reports

  • You can place freezes online, over the phone, or in writing (info provided below)

  • You will receive a PIN for your credit freeze with each bureau. You will use this PIN when you want to unfreeze your credit report to apply for new credit.

  • If you want to temporarily lift a freeze because you are applying for credit, try to find out which credit bureau the business uses to check credit reports. You can save some money and time by only lifting your freeze for that credit bureau.

  • You can temporarily lift a freeze for a particular creditor or for a specific period of time, from one day to one year.

  • Make sure to account for the time it can take to thaw your report. In most cases if you request a thaw online or over the phone, your report can be unfrozen within 15 minutes. However, it can take longer if you don’t have your PIN that was assigned to you when you froze your report, so make sure to keep your PIN in a safe, memorable place where you can quickly retrieve it when needed. It can also take up to three days of receipt of your request if you make it via postal mail.

Equifax

Online: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/

Phone: 1-800-349-9960 (automated), 1-888-298-0045 (live operator)

Mail: Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348

Experian

Online: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Phone: 1‑888‑397‑3742

Mail: Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013

Experian includes a potentially confusing three paragraph “Security Freeze Warning.” They are just explaining that you will need to unfreeze your credit report before applying for credit if you ever wish to do so in the future.

TransUnion

Online: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze

Phone: 888-909-8872

Mail: TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016

National Consumer Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange

Online: https://www.exchangeservicecenter.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Phone: 1-866-349-5355

Mail: NCTUE Security Freeze P.O. Box 105561 Atlanta, GA 30348

Protect Your Online Privacy

Although protection from identity theft is largely about data security, privacy also plays an important role. Data security and privacy often go hand-in-hand with each other. Privacy generally refers to the control or choice you have over how your personal information is used or shared. Data security refers to the measures put in place to protect that control and make sure data is used as intended.

Use this checklist to help you control how your personal information is used or shared online.

  • Cover the camera on your laptop to prevent hackers from watching and recording you.

  • Consider your options for blocking websites, advertisers, and others from tracking your online activity on your computer, including: adjusting your cookies settings on your browser, installing a tracking blocker for your web browser, or opting out of targeted advertising. Note that “private browsing” settings by themselves still allow your activity to be communicated to third-parties during a browsing session.

  • Consider your options for blocking advertisers from tracking your online activity on your mobile device, including turning off ad tracking and resetting “device identifiers.” You can also research ways of controlling ad tracking on your other smart devices, such as internet connected entertainment systems.

  • Check the privacy settings on your mobile device to control the access that different apps have to your personal information, including location, personal contacts, photos, calendar, and health data. Many apps have the ability to track your location even when you’re not using them.

  • Check your privacy and other settings in your Facebook account to control tools such as face recognition, location history, and ad preferences.

  • Check your privacy settings in your Google account to control tools such as the collection of your web searches and other activity and the ads you see.

  • Check your privacy settings in your other apps and social media accounts.

Identity Theft & Privacy Resources


Issue updates

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Food

Statement: CDC finds E. coli outbreak caused by tainted ground beef

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that it suspects ground beef caused an outbreak of E. coli-induced infections that has sickened more than 100 people in six states.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Consumer Protection

Statement on Wells Fargo’s response to “Debit Cards on Campus” report

Read U.S. PIRG's statement on Wells Fargo eliminating some fees for student on debit cards.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. PIRG Consumer Campaign Director Testifies at Congressional Hearing on Data Security | Mike Litt

U.S. PIRG's Consumer Campaign Director, Mike Litt, was invited to testify at a Congressional hearing yesterday about improving data security at the credit bureaus. Here are his opening remarks. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Food

California avocados second major recall in less than a week

Henry Avocado Corporation is recalling avocados potentially contaminated with the deadly listeria bacteria. Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG said in a statement: “We are barely getting a chance to breath between recalls."

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Tyson chicken strips recalled, may contain pieces of metal

Just seven weeks after Tyson Foods recalled chicken nuggets that could contain rubber, the poultry giant is recalling chicken strips that might contain metal. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Questionable lending drives Americans to record auto debt

The amount of money Americans owe on their cars is now at an all-time high -- up 75 percent since the end of 2009. Americans’ rising indebtedness for cars raises concerns about the financial future of millions of households as lenders extend credit to more and more Americans without the ability to repay, according to a new U.S. PIRG report.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Wells Fargo customers should file complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and beware phishing scams

Here is our statement about Wells Fargo’s system failures that started yesterday.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives payday debt traps its seal of approval

Here is our statement about the CFPB's proposal for gutting its own payday lending protections.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Equifax’s Original Credit Lock Expires Tomorrow

Here is our press release about tomorrow's expiration of Equifax's original product it offered consumers after its massive data breach.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Food

Recall of Gold Medal Flour for Salmonella Contamination

General Mills announced Wednesday it is recalling all five-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour because of potential Salmonella contamination. U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog issued the following statement.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Preying On Portlanders

In August of 2005, our staff surveyed 21 licensed payday lending storefronts in the City of Portland. Because many of the payday lending storefronts are owned and operated by the same payday lender, the survey is representative of approximately ninety-five percent (95%) of the licensed active payday lending storefronts in the City of Portland. The survey aimed to determine the interest rate most commonly charged in the City of Portland, based on a $300 loan principal for a 14-day term.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

The Right Start

A child’s first few years are an exciting time for parents who hope, if for nothing else, that their child starts his or her life happy and healthy. Unfortunately, not all products marketed for children and babies are completely safe for their use. Many contain toxic chemicals that may have detrimental health impacts for children exposed during critical stages of development.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Trouble In Toyland 2004

The 2004 Trouble in Toyland report is the 19th annual Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards. PIRG’s research focused on four categories of toys: toys that pose choking hazards, toys that pose strangulation hazards, toys that are dangerously loud, and toys that contain toxic chemicals. 

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Trouble In Toyland 2004

The 2004 Trouble in Toyland report is the 19th annual Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards. PIRG’s research focused on four categories of toys: toys that pose choking hazards, toys that pose strangulation hazards, toys that are dangerously loud, and toys that contain toxic chemicals. 

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

Mistakes Do Happen

Several studies since the early 1990s have documented sloppy credit bureau practices that lead to mistakes on credit reports—for which consumers pay the price. Consumers with serious errors in their credit reports can be denied credit, home loans, apartment rentals, auto insurance, or even medical coverage and the right to open a bank account or use a debit card. We asked adults in 30 states to order their credit reports and complete a survey on the reports’ accuracy.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Is On The Job Protecting Consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

While powerful special interests, Senators, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and the White House call for dismantling the CFPB, firing its excellent director, or worse, CFPB continues to be an agency that is on the job, conducting business as usual to protect consumers. Its latest "Monthly Complaint Snapshot" is an open window into the many reasons we need a strong CFPB.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Defending the Consumer Bureau and Richard Cordray | Kathryn Lee

“Rich Cordray is the LeBron James of regulators, it makes no sense to fire him.” Our consumer program director, Ed Mierzwinski, is right. We need to maintain a strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, free from political and outside-industry influence. And to do that, we need to ensure Richard Cordray remains the Bureau’s director until the end of his term.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

The internet should be free and open | Kathryn Lee

Net neutrality is the basic principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. And this principle is being dismantled by the new Federal Communications Commission.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumer protection suspended | Kathryn Lee

On Monday, President Trump promised to do “a big number” on the Wall Street reforms we helped pass in the aftermath of the Great Recession. On Friday, he started to follow through on his promise, delaying a commonsense consumer protection to require retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best interests.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This week, CFPB Sues TCF Bank for overdraft schemes and loan servicer Navient for "failing" students | Ed Mierzwinski

Despite an escalation of threats to exterminate the Consumer FInancial Protection Bureau, CFPB continues to protect consumers well. This week it sued TCF Bank over deceptive overdraft marketing schemes and it sued Navient, the student loan servicer and Sallie Mae spinoff, for "failing" students at every step of the repayment process. The TCF complaint notes that its CEO brazenly named his boat "Overdraft."

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Today is the final day that the 147 million consumer-victims of the massive Equifax data breach can file a claim against the credit bureau to get compensation of “up to” $125 each. However, so many consumers have already filed claims that when the compensation fund is divided, victims probably won’t get very much cash. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court oral argument scheduled for March 3, 2020, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and several other consumer advocacy groups filed an amicus brief today in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The brief argues that long-established principles and Supreme Court precedent support the constitutionality of the CFPB’s leadership structure. The brief also highlights that Congress purposefully created an independent bureau focused on consumer financial protection to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Contaminated food, from Tyson's chicken strips containing chunks of metal to E. coli-laden romaine lettuce, posed a serious danger to Americans’ health in 2019. U.S. PIRG Education Fund How Safe Is Our Food? report found recalls for produce and processed food have fallen 34 percent since 2016, but meat and poultry recalls are up 65 percent since 2013. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush releases legislation to increase transparency around important product injury and death data. 

Blog Post

Parents don’t usually expect the toys they buy to threaten their kid’s health -- especially when that toy is a smiling train from a popular kids show.

Consumer Protection

New federal bill will make it easier for consumers to know about unsafe, even deadly products

If you had a product in your home that the government knew could cause injury or death, you'd expect the government to warn you, right? Surprisingly, that's not the case for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The "Safety Hazard and Recall Efficiency Information Act" seeks to change that.

 

Consumer Protection

The Trump administration's Consumer Bureau just appointed a task "farce" on consumer law

The Trump administration's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just appointed a new task force on consumer law — but according to senior director of PIRG's federal consumer program, Ed Mierzwinski, this task force isn't set up to be on the side of consumers. "It is a task farce," he said.

 

Consumer Protection

Ed Mierzwinski and Katie Murtha named top lobbyists of 2019

PIRG Federal Consumer Program Senior Director Ed Mierzwinski and Vice President of Federal and Government Affairs Katie Murtha have been recognized as being among the top lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

 

Consumer Protection

Watch out for unsafe toys this holiday season

Our annual “Trouble in Toyland” report found toys with choking hazards, recalled toys still for sale, toxics in slime and more.

 
View AllRSS Feed

Support Us

Your donation supports U.S. PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code



U.S. PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.