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W.Va. Attorney General joins National Consumer Protection initiative

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is joining with consumer protection groups and other state attorneys general to help consumers combat scam calls in observation of National Consumer Protection Week, a consumer education initiative spearheaded by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Slam the Scam,” which is part of the National Consumer Protection Week, is an initiative from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General. It is aimed at educating consumers on what to do if they receive unsolicited or suspicious calls.

“Scam calls are one of the top issues that plague consumers daily and it’s important to be on guard against scammers,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “If you receive such a call, don’t give in to the scammer or provide any personal, identifiable information. Instead, hang up and report the call to our office and other pertinent authorities.”

Consumers lost hundreds of millions of dollars to government impostor scams last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. These scams often involve someone who calls and claims to represent a government agency. The caller/scammer will often attempt to gather the consumer’s personal information, demand payment or even threaten arrest or another penalty if the consumer does not comply.

These scams primarily use the phone, but scammers may also use email, text messages, social media or U.S. mail. Social Security-related scams hold the top spot as the most common type of government imposter scam reported to the FTC.

Consumers who receive suspicious calls should keep the following in mind: 

  • Hang up. Ending the conversation is the quickest way to stop a scam—before it starts.
  • Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers have been known to falsify or “spoof” calls to make them appear to come from a legitimate source.
  • Verify the call. If the caller claims to represent a particular government agency, hang up and call the main number for the legitimate agency to see if that agency was trying to reach you.
  • Don’t give in to the scammer. Scammers are hoping consumers will panic and surrender the information or money they are asking for out of fear.
  • Report the scam. In addition to calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division at 800-368-8808, consumers should also report scam calls to https://oig.ssa.gov/report/

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office has participated in National Consumer Protection Week for more than seven years.

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