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Since its formation in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proven itself a worthy cop on the financial beat: It has already returned more than $1.5 billion in unfair bank and credit card fees to consumers. Yet too many people may still be unsure how to get the most out of this new federal agency.

That’s why Illinois PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) is announcing today a new list of 10 resources available to consumers from the CFPB. The CFPB was established in the wake of the Wall Street-induced financial collapse; it is the first federal financial agency with just one job, protecting consumers.

“At the CFPB website you can file complaints about financial products and get money returned or bad practices stopped; and you can also get answers to questions or tell your story about a financial problem,” said Dev Gowda, Advocate for Illinois PIRG. “You can also use “Know Before You Owe” resources to investigate the cost of college or a mortgage.”

The new page is part of Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s Consumer Tips pages. You can access “Top Ten Ways the CFPB can Help You” here.  Consumers without access to the Internet can call the CFPB at 855-411-CFPB to get the tools and resources.

The Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s main Consumer Tips page also includes a variety of self-help pages on issues ranging from identity theft to tenant’s rights to how to buy a cell phone. The site also describes how to complain to other government agencies, including for car defects, product safety concerns or airline complaints.

Gowda also pointed out that the CFPB’s Top Ten resources include information for consumers who the CFPB has special responsibilities to protect from financial fraud, including service-members and veterans, students and older Americans.

“The CFPB is getting results for consumers,” concluded Gowda. “Not only has it fined 5 big credit card companies and refunded $1.5 billion to consumers for some banks’ unfair practices, it is handling consumer complaints for credit card, credit bureau, mortgage, payday loan, debt collection and other problems.”

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Illinois PIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy group that takes on powerful special interests on behalf of its members. Illinois PIRG Education Fund is its research and education arm.

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