California State Agencies

Department of Consumer Affairs

Licenses over 100 types of businesses and 200 types of professionals ranging from doctors to accountants to contractors. Phone (800) 952-5210 to reach the Consumer Information Center, where staff members can help find the right government agency to help with a particular problem. The Department of Consumer Affairs provides a Consumer Resource & Referral Guide. Using the Guide's Complaint Referral Table, customers can look up the type of business, which will refer them to the appropriate agency.

Office of the Attorney General (Consumer Alerts, Information and Complaints)

Takes complaints against a variety of businesses. The Attorney General has authority under Corporations Code section 1508 to intervene on behalf of shareholders of a corporation who are denied certain specified legal rights in the form of a "Notice of Complaint" letter to the corporation.

California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation

Oversees the Division of Corporations and Division of Financial Institutions, which are responsible for the regulation of state chartered banks, securities, franchises, off–exchange commodities, investment and financial services, independent escrows, consumer and commercial finance lending, and residential mortgage lending. Has exclusive authority to bring both civil and administrative actions under the laws subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. For questions or complaints, contact the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation at (866) 275–2677 or (916) 327–7585.

Seniors Against Investment Fraud (SAIF)

A statewide outreach campaign under the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. The primary purpose of SAIF is to alert and educate Californians over the age of 50 about financial and investment fraud, common scams, and unscrupulous sales practices that specifically target seniors and to empower seniors to to make informed decisions about investments and finances. To learn more about SAIF and obtain other resources relating to financial abuse of seniors, please visit the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation's Education and Outreach webpage.

Department of Insurance

Has jurisdiction over title and other insurance companies and provides information relating to requirements for insurance companies, agents, and brokers. For questions or complaints, contact the Department of Insurance at (800) 927–4357 or (213) 897–8921.

The California Department of Insurance also hosts the Senior Gateway portal, a one-stop website intended to provide information and resources specifically for seniors. The Senior Gateway's Financial Abuse webpage provide information and resources for senior fraud awareness, prevention and reporting.

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Federal Agencies

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Protects investors and maintains the integrity of the securities markets. Each year the SEC brings between 400–500 civil enforcement actions against individuals and companies that break securities laws. Typical violations include insider trading, accounting fraud, and providing false or misleading information about securities and the companies that issue them. The website includes the EDGAR database of disclosure documents that public companies are required to file with the Commission.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. The Commission also enforces federal antitrust laws that prohibit anticompetitive mergers and other business practices that restrict competition and harm consumers. While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, a complaint helps the FTC investigate fraud, and can lead to law enforcement action.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Charters, regulates, and supervises national banks to ensure a safe, sound, and competitive banking system. The agency can remove officers and directors, negotiate agreements to change banking practices, and issue cease and desist orders as well as civil money penalties.

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet-related criminal complaints and to research, develop and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for investigation, as appropriate.

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Other Helpful Resources

Better Business Bureau

Provides valuable information to both businesses and consumers to assist in making informed decisions.

State Bar of California

Provides information relating to registration of law corporations and limited liability partnerships. Also provides links to county bar associations that have lawyer referral services.

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Serves as a national clearinghouse for fraud information.

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)

Helps consumers, their advocates, and public policy makers use consumer laws on behalf of low–income and vulnerable Americans seeking economic justice. NCLC does not have the resources for advising consumers directly and refers consumers to their county bar associations or legal aid programs for local legal referrals.

Legislative Counsel

The Legislative Counsel website allows you to search any of the California Codes. In addition, it provides information on current and past legislative bills.

Business, Consumer Services & Housing Agency

Provides information about and links to the departments the Agency oversees, such as the Department of Real Estate (July 1, 2018), Department of Corporations, California Housing Finance Agency, and the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Office of Administrative Law

The Office of Administrative Law website allows you to search the California Code of Regulations. The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal

Offers a centralized place to find information from local, state, and federal agency sites.

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