Arizona Attorney General’s Office zeroes in on consumer protection against fraud

Mar 8, 2023, 4:15 AM
(Pixabay Illustrations)...
(Pixabay Illustrations)
(Pixabay Illustrations)

PHOENIX – Arizonans filed the most fraud complaints in 2022 about misleading car sales methods, problems with real estate and mortgages and getting hacked, the state’s chief legal office said.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said Monday its Consumer Information and Complaints Unit recovered more than $5 million after receiving more than 15,000 complaints last year. Consumers also made about 35,000 phone calls and sent more than 22,000 emails to the agency.

“Fraudsters and scammers take advantage of Arizonans, especially seniors,” Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a press release.

“The Attorney General’s Office has a dedicated team that works every day to protect consumers and return funds or provide other remedies for fraud victims. It’s important for every Arizonan to understand best practices when it comes to your personal information, either online or on the telephone.”

The announcement coincided with National Consumer Protection Week running through Saturday.

Arizona consumers also registered numerous complaints about robocalls, telemarketing, phone scams, unsolicited texts and telecommunications (internet service providers cellphones, pay TV and bundling).

The AG’s Office recommended a handful ways to avoid falling for scams and deceptive practices:

  • Motor vehicles: When buying a vehicle, get the salesperson or business to make all terms and any promises in writing. Get complete copies of all paperwork. If you see a price for a vehicle on a website, bring that page with you to the dealership.
  • Mortgage and real estate: Read all documents and understand the terms before signing. Do not sign contracts or agreements with blank spaces. And, don’t sign an agreement in a language you do not understand.
  • Computer web pages: Create strong passwords (10 characters with letters, both upper case and lower case, numbers, and symbols, without personal information) and change the passwords often so hackers won’t get into your webpages. Do not give your passwords to others. These efforts may help prevent online fraud and reduce cyberscams.
  • Telemarketing, phone scams and unsolicited text messages: Never give money, gift cards, or cryptocurrency in response to an unsolicited phone call or text message. Remember, government agencies will not threaten you or demand that you pay a debt or fee immediately or take payment in gift cards.
  • Telecommunications: Review your monthly bills for unauthorized fees and sudden or new charges.

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Arizona Attorney General’s Office zeroes in on consumer protection against fraud