The Consumer Toolbox

The Consumer Toolbox

The Consumer Toolbox provides the tools you need to become an empowered consumer so that you can make informed decisions with your finances when buying a car, hiring a home improvement contractor, or need to protect yourself from a scam, fraud or identity theft.


September 21, 2023 11 mins

Advertisements for Debt Relief are coming to us from every angle. We hear them on the radio, see them on television, and on posters and newspaper ads. In fact, they are becoming just as overwhelming as the debt ratio most consumers are now facing.

This episode will explain how the debt relief and debt management companies work, the services they may offer, and the potential risks to your credit, if you don't understa...

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Smart devices are good but your privacy is better. Why does this matter? Because smart devices pry on your privacy.

However you have options, if you take the time to take action to protect it. It's all in the settings.

So before you sit to watch tv, for instance, you're going to want to listen to this short but empowering episode. I suggest you take it one step further afterward, and check all of your ...

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Medical data breaches are on the rise. This is a major concern because it impacts our medical records and could potentially put our health, not just our personal and financial information at risk. What most consumers don't know is that medical identity theft can have long-term effects on our medical history and our medical conditions. 

In a case of financial identity theft we can dispute the fraudulent charges, but i...

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We've been hearing about it more every day. It's the new way of shopping without paying for it with cash or a credit card. It's called Buy Now, Pay Later. But did you know that it's actually a loan that may or may not help your credit. There's no doubt that it is a convenient way for those are not prepared for the unexpected, such as when a home appliance breaks.

However it comes with several impl...

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January 31, 2022 8 mins

This week I will join the Federal Trade Commission to help promote Identity Theft Awareness Week. I invite you to participate!

With identity theft continuing to be on the uptick, there are two important and free steps for you to take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. 

The first is to monitor your request three free credit report. The second is to freeze your three credit reports. That&a...

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This week is Data Privacy Week. It's a new year and it's time for consumers to take control of their data and own their privacy!

As consumers, our lives are intertwined each and every day from online shopping to using social media to engage with others. While the digital world affords us much convenience and entertainment, it also poses risks to our personal information and data. 

We have an obligation to ourselve...

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November 10, 2021 8 mins

Hi Listeners!

I'm back. Sorry for the long hiatus. 

Listen to this episode to hear of the "not-so-welcomed" issues I was dealing with these past few months. You will soon discover that I, although a well-versed consumer advocate, can have consumer disputes and issues. I will share with you my own personal stories, and will describe how I was able to resolve them...even weeks or months later. 

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June 14, 2021 13 mins

If you own a car, you're probably familiar with the expenses and headaches associated with auto repair.  Too often consumers either pay too much for a repair, or are dissatisfied with the quality of the work performed.

In this episode, Camille and I provide you with the tools you need to know before you bring your car in for maintenance or repair. There are questions for you to ask, and documents to be signed before ...

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May 23, 2021 10 mins

Don't get duped by a scam when booking your next vacation or family trip!

If you're anything like me, you're ready for a vacation or getaway! But with scams on the rise during the pandemic, you want to hear of the different ones taking consumers for a ride.

In this episode, I will share with you the different types of vacation scams, as well as ways for you to protect yourself from them. So before ...

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This was a National Consumer Protection (NCPW) like no other. Why? Because we had to adapt to doing it virtually...and via The Consumer Toolbox podcast. Surprisingly enough, my colleague, Camille and I were just as productive, if not more than ever. 

We were able to reach more consumers than we thought possible. We tried new things, which you will hear about in this episode. It was an eventful week despite not being able t...

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I could not let National Consumer Protection Week come close to an end without my dedicating an episode to Older Americans who are learning to navigate the cyber world. To many of them, this is a new era and way of communicating with the outside world as they stay safe in their homes during the pandemic. 

In this episode, I am talking directly to those who have older parents, family members, friends or neighbors who deserv...

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First and foremost, I want to thank my colleague, Camille Christian, a Case Specialist at the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information for offering to host Episode 4 of the National Consumer Protection Week  series. Camille and I are equally passionate about our work, and know the importance of consumer advocacy and education. 

In this episode, Camille discusses the eviction and foreclosure moratorium. She also reads questio...

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With the pandemic affecting our finances, it seems that credit is a concern for many consumers. And there's nothing wrong with that! What is wrong though is the misconception on how to handle negative credit reporting, or when our credit scores take a plunge. 

In this episode of The Consumer Toolbox I give a simple and clear explanation on how to get a better grip on our credit scores by first understanding our credit...

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Spring is around the corner and so are home improvement scams!

There is homework for you to do before you hire a home improvement contractor. Learn the steps you must take to avoid falling to a home improvement scam or you hire a fraudulent contractor or handyman. 

Be sure to subscribe and like this episode, and share it with your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Remember that, "Education is...

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It's my favorite week of the year! Today kicks off National Consumer Protection Week and I couldn't think of anything better to do than to bring to you an introduction to this year's event! 

This will be my first year not being out in my community but I am thrilled to use this platform to reach listeners of The Consumer Toolbox!

I have one favor to ask of you...please subscribe and review this podca...

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February 16, 2021 10 mins

If you want your complaint to be heard and resolved, there's a right way to address your concerns to a business or merchant. Whether you do it by phone, email or letter, using the right tone, choosing the right words and addressing your complaint to the right person may likely get you the resolution you are seeking. But before you do that, you must set aside your emotions.

In this episode, I will share with you tips a...

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December 18, 2020 14 mins

Due to a large number of requests from its listeners, this episode is a  sequel to Episode 1: Wait! Don't Buy a Lemon! Thank you all for your positive feedback, and of course, for listening to The Consumer Toolbox podcast!

In this episode, Milagros provides additional tips on avoiding buying a lemon, and reinforces you using "Your Car Buying Power!" 

Remember to subscribe to The Consumer Toolbox a...

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November 29, 2020 14 mins

With the pandemic at its highest peak this holiday season, most of us have turned to online shopping over brick-and-mortar. However this is creating a perfect storm for cybercriminals to access and steal our financial and personal information, hack our computers, and do all they can to rob us of our holiday cheer and joy. "What you think may be a good deal, may be a good steal (for a scammer)!"

In this episode, M...

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It goes without saying that scams, fraud and identity theft are part of our past, present and future. This is why we must learn to, "stop, breath, and take a step back to think" when we suspect it to be a scam when we get a telephone call, email or text. 

In Episode 2, Milagros talks candidly about how fraudsters target us each day, and what steps we must take to better protect our personal information and financ...

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September 14, 2020 12 mins

 Too often consumers buy cars that don't run or barely run. Before shopping for your new car, you need the tools to make an informed decision to avoid from buying a lemon. 

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