PHOENIX (Monday, March 7, 2011) - Attorney General Tom Horne announces the start of Arizona Consumer Protection Week, a week dedicated to helping Arizonans become informed consumers. Every day this week, AG Horne will highlight an issue to protect the consumer.
Horne is also announcing the Attorney General Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA). TASA will provide statewide civil and criminal prosecution of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and scams that target seniors. TASA has a dedicated phone line (602) 542-2124 or email SeniorAbuse@azag.gov
To launch the week, the Public Advocacy Division of the Attorney General's office has provided a list of General Consumer Tips:
- Mortgage or real estate professionals - Arizona Dept of Financial Institutions, Arizona Department of Real Estate
- Home repair - Registrar of Contractors
- Charities - Registered with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
- Know who you’re dealing with.
- Research the company or individual before you do business with them. Too often, consumers research a company only after they’ve been scammed. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to seek information relating to a company and its reputation within the community.
- Consider recommendations from friends, but also beware of affinity marketing (when scammers target victims through a shared religious affiliation, nationality or language).
- Check to see if the company or individual is licensed with the appropriate agency.
- Read before you sign.
- Be aware of ‘Bait and switch’ tactics - don’t fall for “the contract says the same thing as what I just told you.” Always read the fine print terms and verbiage before signing any document.
- Don’t let anybody fill in terms for you, or pressure you to sign a contract immediately. If you have a question about terms or language used in a contract or agreement, do not hesitate to ask for a thorough explanation.
- Hang up the phone.
- Sign up for the Do Not Call List. You may list your home phone or cell phone on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List. http://donotcall.gov or 1-888-382-1222.
- If you are receiving an unwanted or harassing phone call, it is OK to hang up.
- Be cautious about opportunities involving sending money as a means to receive money.
- Do not be persuaded to wire money to a company if they tell you that you have won a lottery prize. You probably have not won anything, especially if you did not enter a contest.
- Be aware of business opportunity scams that involve spending a large sum of money for simple business plans and ideas (Web sites, travel sales, etc.). Before you invest in any business, do your research and fully understand all terms and conditions for any agreement you may sign.
- Trust your instincts.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And always remember, it never hurts to do a little research on a company or product before you spend time and money.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763; in Tucson at 520.628.6504; or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1.800.352.8431. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General’s Office has satellite offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help. Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General’s Web site, azag.gov.