Consumer protection experts with the Attorney General’s Office have published a comprehensive guide to frauds and scams that are currently targeting North Carolina consumers, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced.
“Con artists are experts at finding new ways to rip you off, and they also love to recycle tried and true scams,” Cooper said. “Outsmart the scammers by learning their tricks so you can avoid them.”
The publication offers details about ploys scammers use to try to rob North Carolinians of their money and their personal information. It includes a wide variety of scams, such as telemarketing fraud, phony prizes, fake checks, sweetheart scams, and home repair rip-offs.
Read the complete list of frauds and scams at the Attorney General website, www.ncdoj.gov.
For example, telephone fraudsters may say that you’ve won a million dollar prize from Canada or Australia but owe taxes, or tell you that you qualify for a free government grant, or threaten you with a bill that isn’t really yours. In each instance, the caller is using a ruse to try to get you to send them money.
Or a scammer may knock on your door, claiming that your chimney is about to fall down, your roof is in danger of collapse, or your driveway needs repaving. They will offer to fix the problem at what they promise is a great price, then charge you an exorbitant fee for little or no work.
While people of any age can fall victim to a scam, seniors are often special targets. The publication highlights scams geared toward seniors, such as the grandparent scam, where fraudsters call pretending to be a grandchild in distress and in need of money; the sweetheart scam, where con artists befriend elderly people in the hopes of controlling their estate; and health related scams like phony products that claim to cure medical conditions.
Cooper offered some tips that can help consumers avoid almost any scam:
• Protect your numbers. Never give your Social Security number, credit card or bank account number to a person who contacts you by phone or email.
• Don’t pay money up front to get a loan, collect a prize, or for debt settlement, credit repair or foreclosure help. It’s illegal to require such a payment. (And if someone says you’ve won a lottery or sweepstakes that you don’t recall entering, they’re trying to scam you!)
• Don’t deposit a check and then agree to wire money to someone. The check is phony, and the money you send will come out of your own account
• Be wary of door-to-door contractors and others offering home repair services.
• Avoid get-rich-quick schemes. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true, or promise huge rewards with little or no risk.
Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division learns about many frauds and scams thanks to reports from consumers and uses the information to educate the public and take action against law breakers. If you spot a potential scam or think you may have fallen victim to one, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or file a consumer complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.