ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr is recognizing March 5-11, 2023, as National Consumer Protection Week by highlighting the efforts of Georgia’s Consumer Protection Division and sharing important tips on how to avoid scams.
“Our Consumer Protection Division continues to produce exceptional results on behalf of their fellow Georgians, with more than 170,000 people assisted last year alone,” said Carr. “We are working each day to protect consumers from scams and dishonest business practices, and we stand ready to assist all those in need of guidance. During National Consumer Protection Week, we encourage Georgians to take advantage of the many resources we offer so you can ensure your personal and financial information is kept safe.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division receives hundreds of consumer complaints a month and investigates those businesses that demonstrate a pattern or practice of unlawful behavior.
2022, the Consumer Protection Division helped 171,548 people and was responsible for obtaining more than $143 million for consumers through several efforts, including legal settlements, mediation, and administration of the Georgia Lemon Law.
From the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, to date, settlements with the Attorney General's Office resulted in payments to the State Treasury in the amount of $21,294,663. Additional information can be found here.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division continues to engage in consumer education and outreach efforts.
This includes the distribution of two consumer-dedicated guides:
- The Georgia Consumer Protection Guide for Older Adults includes an array of topics of importance to seniors, such as scams, identity theft, credit and debt, reverse mortgages, charitable giving, home repairs, funerals, advance directives, long-term care, elder abuse and more. The guide is available in English, Spanish and Korean. Download your free copy here.
- Cybersecurity in Georgia: A Guide for Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Places of Worship includes critical tips and information on the different types of cyber threats, protecting your data and network, training employees about cybersecurity, planning for and responding to a security breach, cyber insurance and more. Download your free copy here.
The Consumer Protection Division also participates in live speaking engagements and webinars throughout the state. For example, during National Consumer Protection Week, the Consumer Protection Division joined the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the AARP for an expert panel discussion on scams in Macon, Georgia. Division staff also spoke to AARP Chapter 3793, serving the people of southwest Atlanta and East Point, about imposter fraud.
Georgians can connect with the Consumer Protection Division via its two dedicated web sites:
- Consumer.ga.gov, where consumers can file a complaint, find information on a wide variety of consumer topics and read the office’s latest press releases.
- ConsumerEd.ga.gov, where consumers can access valuable information to help them make wise decisions about their homes, cars, credit and finances. Georgians can also view and subscribe to “Ask Consumer Ed,” the bi-weekly blog that includes Consumer Protection Division responses to consumer-submitted questions.
Red Flags of a Scam
Scams are rampant, with new ones popping up all the time as scammers adapt to new technologies, the latest trends and current events. Although the variety of scams can seem endless, there are some common characteristics that can help you to recognize and avoid a scam.
Georgians should be on the lookout for these red flags:
- Being asked to pay via gift cards, wire transfer, prepaid debit card or cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin). Scammers love these payment methods because they’re virtually impossible to trace.
- Being asked to pay money for any reason in order to receive a prize.
- Scare tactics or pressure to act immediately (e.g. your computer has been hacked, your loved one is in danger, you’re going to be arrested if you don’t send money now, or this amazing deal is only good for today).
- Promises that sound too good to be true, e.g. an investment deal with zero risk and guarantees of a high pay-off.
- Being asked to provide sensitive information, such as your financial account information, user names, passwords and PINs, Social Security number, or insurance ID number.
It may be difficult to get your money back once it is in the hands of a scammer, but there are some steps you can take to boost your chances of recovering your funds. Visit our website here to learn more about what to do if you have lost money in a scam.
To file a complaint about a business or report an alleged scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 404-651-8600 or visit our website here.
Receive consumer information direct to your email by subscribing to the “Ask Consumer Ed” blog at ConsumerEd.ga.gov.
If you want the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to speak to your group, download a speaker request form here.