US Attorney’s Office Launches National Consumer Protection Week | USAO-WDNC
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — U.S. Attorney Dena J. King today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is joining a range of government, nonprofit, and private organizations to raise awareness of widespread and emerging scams during National Consumer Protection Week.
“National Consumer Protection Week is an opportunity to join forces with public and private agencies to amplify the message against sinister scams and educate the public on how to identify scams and avoid fall prey to scammers,” U.S. Attorney King said. “The best way to protect yourself is to learn how to spot a scam and what to do if you are contacted by a scammer. We also encourage everyone to report suspected fraudulent schemes to help us track emerging scams and warn others.
According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2021, North Carolina residents submitted more than 64,000 fraud reports totaling $93 million in losses, compared to $74 million in 2020. The top categories of fraud reported were for imposters, online shopping, sweepstakes and lotteries, and internet services, among others. .
Spot the four signs of a scam can prevent consumers from falling victim to it. The signs are:
- Fraudsters pretend to be affiliated with a widely known organization, such as a government entity, law enforcement agency, utility company, or charity.
- The scammers claim that there is an imminent problem that requires immediate attention. For example, they claim that you or a loved one have legal or financial problems, your computer is infected with a virus, or your bank account has been locked.
- You are forced to take immediate action, including paying a fine or settling a debt to avoid arrest, paying for computer repairs to restore your data, logging into your account using a link provided, or pay a fee in order to receive lottery winnings.
- Scammers ask you to pay using a specific payment method, such as a gift card, prepaid debit card, wire transfer, or instant money transfer.
To avoid being scammed, consumers are encouraged to:
- Ignore unknown callers and block unwanted numbers and SMS.
- Do not open or reply to suspicious emails and do not click on suspicious links.
- Do not give out personal or financial information such as name, date of birth, social security number, bank account, or credit card number.
- Do not succumb to pressure tactics urging you to act immediately. Take your time to verify the legitimacy of the source and do your own research.
- Don’t pay using an unusual payment method such as wire transfers, instant money transfers, internet currency, or gift cards, or use your bank account to cash a check that you is sent by post.
- If you think you’ve been contacted by a scammer, tell a trusted family member, friend or neighbor.
It is equally important that consumers do their part to help us identify existing or emerging scams and help warn others. If you are scammed or believe you have been contacted by a scammer, report the fraud to your local police and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
To visit PNLT for a list of events throughout the week and for additional information on how to avoid scams.