The emerging global economy presents many opportunities and challenges for consumers. Computer and communications technology advances place powerful tools in the hands of consumers. While online, consumers can access a brokerage account, buy a clock directly from a German artisan, compare the prices of cell phone service, and research eighteenth-century passenger manifests—all from the home computer. These same technologies allow businesses to collect an unprecedented amount of information about the purchase patterns and financial holdings of consumers. As e-commerce becomes a driving market force, new problems will need to be addressed about how best to protect consumers of all ages. At the same time, all consumers need to be alert that frauds and scams can just as easily, and certainly more rapidly, happen electronically.
SALLY BALCH HURME
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American Association of Retired Persons: www.aarp.org
Consumer Information Center: www.pueblo.gsa.gov
Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov
Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov
National Association of Consumer Advocates: www.naca.net
National Consumer Law Center: www.consumerlaw.org
National Senior Citizens Law Center: www.nsclc.org
United States Postal Inspectors: www.usps.com/postalinspectors