Fraud alert system set up - East Valley Tribune: Business

Fraud alert system set up

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Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2005 6:42 am | Updated: 8:59 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard established an e-mail alert system to notify the public of consumer frauds and scams.

Beginning next week, Goddard’s office will electronically send the messages to people who sign up for them at the department’s Web site.

"It will be similar to the consumer alerts and the scam alerts that we’ve been sending out to the media," said Andrea Esquer, Goddard’s press secretary. "We’re just going to add another list of folks that might not see the news everyday."

The attorney general hopes to have 10,000 names on the mailing list by the end of the year.

"Education is a really vital part of trying to keep people from becoming victims," Esquer said, pointing to recent news on identification theft and home mortgage scams. "When we hear about it, others should know about it."

The alerts are the latest move in an effort by Goddard to heighten his office’s antifraud efforts, said Phyllis Rowe, Arizona Consumers Council president emeritus. Those efforts are helping to offset the fact that Arizona has no office dedicated to consumer protection, she said.

"He’s been doing a very good job," Rowe said. "In fact, I sent him a card last week telling him so. In California and in many of the other states, they have a consumer office. We don’t have that. We don’t even have a consumer assistance office in our city or in the county. He’s doing a great deal to help to educate the consumers."

Rowe said she receives telephone calls from many out-ofstaters surprised Arizona doesn’t have a consumerprotection office.

"(Goddard) has got a lot of other things to do, but he’s also performing actually a dual-function there," she said.

Esquer said snuffing scams is an office priority. Many scams are directed at people who are vulnerable financially or are buying a car, she said. Others are perpetrated by unscrupulous door-to-door salesman or telephone salesman who target seniors.

"A lot of seniors won’t hang up on people if they get a solicitor," Esquer said.

"They’ll listen to them and eventually they’ll buy something that they didn’t need. Or they get scammed by someone they should have never listened to in the first place. We really think by heightening the profile of consumer protection and really focusing on consumer fraud issues that we can get the word out that it’s OK to hang up on people. . . ."

Consumers can subscribe to the e-mail service by visiting Goddard’s site at www.azag.gov on the Web.

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