Abington Journal

Text alert system to warn state residents about potential scams

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro encourages Pennsylvania consumers to sign up for a new text alert system through the Bureau of Consumer Protection to raise their awareness about how to avoid becoming a victim of scams.

The text alerts – which will be sent at least twice a month – will offer tips for consumers to avoid becoming a victim of a scam, warn about new scams or update subscribers on consumer protection issues. Consumers can sign up by visiting https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/consumer-alerts/and opt out via text after they receive a text alert. There is no fee to sign up. Mobile carrier rates may apply.

Shapiro shared that seniors are more likely to be targeted by scammers because criminals think seniors are easier to trick, have more assets, are generally more trusting of others and are less likely to report the crime, sometimes due to embarrassment over being duped. Pennsylvania is home to more than 12.8 million residents. Of these, approximately 2.9 million are adults age 60 and older.

This year, the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has warned Pennsylvanians of fraudulent IRS tax scams, online romance scams, mortgage modification scams, online employment scams, among other fraudulent schemes. In 2017, the Bureau of Consumer Protection handled 21,942 total complaints and saved $3,032,770 for Pennsylvanians through monies returned to consumers, remittance, and savings through mediation – including $1,126,102 for seniors. The top complaints included Do-Not-Call List violations, motor vehicle issues and home improvement contractor concerns.

In addition to signing up for text alerts, Pennsylvanians who believe they have been victims of a scam should file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 800-441-2555 or emailing scams@attorneygeneral.gov.

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