NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Today's investors may feel overwhelmed by the abundance of information available, not all of it trustworthy. If you're looking for reliable information or think you've been ripped off, here are some sources that can help:

  • Better Markets is a nonprofit group that lobbies on behalf of the average person. Its president and CEO, Dennis Kelleher, is an outspoken advocate for the public in a lobbying arena that's mostly dominated by Wall Street firms. Better Markets is a great source if you're interested in keeping abreast of the tensions between Wall Street lobbyists and the public.
  • The Consumer Federation of America is an association of nonprofit consumer groups. Like Better Markets, it is a welcome -- but rare -- advocate for the public. Here are the various areas it covers, and here's its consumer information page.
  • The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association can give you the names of lawyers in your area who can represent you if you've lost money with a stockbroker. Here is its link to find a lawyer.
  • BrokerCheck by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is the place you should go before you even hire a broker or adviser. Here's a video describing how BrokerCheck works. Check to see whether the person has had regulatory problems or customer complaints. It's not worth doing business with frequent offenders. I've heard people say you shouldn't hire a broker with more than three dings on his record, but I'd cross someone off the list if he or she had more than one complaint.
  • The North American Securities Administrators Association is an organization of state regulators. It often can provide a more complete dossier on a broker than Finra's BrokerCheck can. You can find your state regulator on this list.
  • Jason Zweig is a reporter at The Wall Street Journal whose articles about investments are always authoritative and never deferential to the securities industry. You'd be smart to put his name on a Google alert. You can also bookmark his stories here.
  • Helaine Olen is a personal finance writer and author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry. She's another a good choice for a Google alert. Here's a link if you'd like to bookmark her articles.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a tough regulator of consumer financial products including mortgages and credit cards. CFPB can help you with a complaint and offers great educational information on its website.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is criticized for being soft on Wall Street banks, but it does have some good investor education information. Here's its broad investor page, and here's a page with information for individual investors.
  • The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) mentioned above is a nongovernmental regulator that's sometimes criticized for having too light a touch. But it has some great information for investors on its site. This link offers a wealth of information about financial products.
  • Lastly, if you'd like to see whether you're the kind of person whom fraudsters target, take a look at  this study from AARP.

--Written by Susan Antilla for MainStreet