Contact: Christopher Curtis, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828 5586
New Scams on the Rise; AG Promotes Scam Alert System
Vermonters filed 5,233 scam reports with Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office in 2017. Most scam reports are for the IRS scam, with 1,337 reports in 2017. The IRS scam involves scammers who claim to be government officials collecting back taxes. Over the past year, scammers also tried to get money or personal information from Vermonters by posing as online tech support, credit card services, lotteries such as the Publishers Clearing House, grant disbursers for the government and even grandchildren.
This week, the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) released the list of 2017’s top 10 most commonly reported scams. Scam reports total over one-third of all contacts to CAP, making them one of the most common consumer issues affecting Vermonters. In addition to the top 10 types of scams, there are a wide variety of different types of scams that Vermonters should guard against. To counter the overwhelming number of scams in 2017, Attorney General T.J. Donovan – in partnership with the Department of Public Safety – launched a new scam alert system to warn Vermonters about new or widespread scams. Vermonters can sign up for the Scam Alert system quickly and easily by going to consumer.vermont.gov or by calling CAP at 1-800-649-2424.
“Scams are now so widespread that they affect our daily lives,” Attorney General Donovan said, “the best protection against scammers is to be alert and educated. Know the most common scams. Don’t fall for people offering to fulfill a dream or claiming you owe a debt out of the blue, and never give out personal or financial information unless you’re absolutely sure where it’s going.”
In addition to CAP’s services, the Attorney General’s Office also protects Vermonters from scams by:
- Operating a hotline to track trends and educate Vermonters about common scams.
- Helping people who have been the victims of scams or identity theft determine what actions to take.
- Offering Vermonters automated alerts on common scams in their area.
- Playing a leading role in settling a multi-state case with Western Union, making Vermonters who lost money in scams between 2004 and 2017 eligible for compensation from a $586 million federal fund.
- Surveying phone companies about their scam-protection practices.
- Click Scam Tips for help on dealing with some of the most popular scams.
CAP is the constituent services arm of the Attorney General’s Office located at the University of Vermont. For nearly four decades, CAP’s staff and its UVM-student volunteers have been protecting Vermont consumers and businesses through information, education and complaint mediation.
Last modified: January 30, 2018