Deceptive car sales practices, predatory real estate or mortgage issues, cyber hacking, incessant robocalls and unauthorized fees were the most reported instances of consumer fraud in 2022, according to Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes.
The attorney general released the list of consumer complaints at the start of Consumer Protection Week, during which her office will highlight ways Arizonans can protect their personal and financial information.
“Fraudsters and scammers take advantage of Arizonans, especially seniors,” said Attorney General Kris Mayes. “The attorney general’s office has a dedicated team that works every day to protect consumers and return funds or provide other remedies for fraud victims. It’s important for every Arizonan to understand best practices when it comes to your personal information, either online or on the telephone.”
In 2022, The Attorney General’s Consumer Information and Complaints Unit (CIC) received more than 15,000 consumer complaints; answered approximately 35,000 phone calls; and reviewed more than 22,000 emails. Significantly, the CIC Unit recovered over $5 million on behalf of consumers by working together with consumers and entities to resolve consumer complaints.
2022 Top Five Consumer Fraud Complaint Trends:
- Motor Vehicle Sales, Repairs, and Rentals
- Mortgage and Real Estate
- Computer Web Pages
- Telemarketing, Phone Scams, and Unsolicited Text Messages
- Telecommunications (i.e. internet service providers, cell phones, pay TV, bundling)
Tips to Avoid Consumer Scams and Deceptive Practices:
- Motor Vehicles: When buying a vehicle, get the salesperson or business to make all terms and any promises in writing. Get complete copies of all paperwork. If you see a price for a vehicle on a website, bring that page with you to the dealership.
- Mortgage and Real Estate: Read all documents and understand the terms before signing. Do not sign contracts or agreements with blank spaces. And, don’t sign an agreement in a language you do not understand.
- Computer Web Pages: Create strong passwords (10 characters with letters, both upper case and lower case, numbers, and symbols, without personal information) and change the passwords often so hackers won’t get into your webpages. Do not give your passwords to others. These efforts may help prevent online fraud and reduce cyber-scams.
- Telemarketing, Phone Scams and Unsolicited Text Messages: Never give money, gift cards, or cryptocurrency in response to an unsolicited phone call or text message. Remember, government agencies will not threaten you or demand that you pay a debt or fee immediately or take payment in gift cards.
- Telecommunications: Review your monthly bills for unauthorized fees and sudden or new charges.
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is an annual opportunity for government agencies, consumer protection groups, and the public to work together to help everyone understand their consumer rights and make good decisions.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.