Consumer Protection

Common Scams

Consumers conduct business transactions every day. We buy cars, shop at clothing stores, use our cellphones and pay medical bills. These transactions, more often than not, take place with legitimate businesses and without problems.

Scam artists connive and swindle consumers to make a quick profit. They sell fake products and services or promise millions of dollars for only a small investment of time or money. Consumers must be vigilant and cautious when presented with an offer that sounds too good to be true.

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Common Scams:

How to Avoid Scams:

  • Don’t answer a call from a number you don’t know.
    • If it is a legitimate call, they will leave a voice message. However, scammers leave voicemails too.
  • If it is a scam call or a robocall, it’s likely an attempt to verify that it is a working number. If you answer, you could receive other scam calls. If you don’t answer, eventually they will stop calling because they cannot confirm it’s a working number.
  • If you answer a call that turns out to be a robocall or a scam, hang up.
    • Don’t press any buttons or give any information.
    • If the caller is a real person, tell them to remove you from their calling list – and HANG UP without another word.
    • They want to gather as much information as possible about you.
  • Wiring money is like giving cash away. If you wire money, there is no protection for you if you later learn that the recipient is not who they claimed to be.
  • Never give out personal or banking information in response to a phone, email, or mail inquiry. Contact the entity requesting the information directly through a different method to verify that it is a reputable company with which you have an existing relationship.
  • Never send money to someone who you do not know and haven’t met in person.
  • It is ALWAYS a scam if they ask you to wire money or pay with a prepaid credit card or gift card.
  • When purchasing items or services online, make sure you research the seller and know their physical location.
  • If you are giving to charity, especially in the wake of a natural disaster, give to an organization that has a strong history in providing relief. Instead of paying in cash, make a check or money order payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
  • Most importantly, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Investigate the offer before accepting or paying any money.