Camel Cigarettes

Consumer Protection

Janice Garrett - Director of Consumer Protection Unit

Caroline Smith - Consumer Protection Unit - Hampshire County

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Facing Foreclosure?

Contact HAPhousing

Hampshire County Office

20 Hampton Avenue, Suite 185, Northampton, MA  01060

(413) 584-8495 • Fax: (413) 586-3571

Hours: M,T,Th,F, 9am-noon and 1-4pm; closed Wed

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Daily Hamsphire Gazette: "DA's Consumer Protection Division increases efforts to help the little guy"

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Consumer Protection video PSAs

 

 

 

  

 

 

(Click logos to visit CFPB and CPSC websites.)

 

 

 

 

 

  (Click for the latest recalls.)    

 

  

  

 

US. Government's Everyday Guide to Consumer Protection

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MONEY WIRING SCAMS

Money wiring scams continue to hurt our consumers in Western Massachusetts. The scam shows up in many different forms, but they all have one thing in common: the consumer is asked to use a money wiring service to send cash for one reason or another.

Lottery, Sweepstakes, Job applications, Overpayment, Relationship, Mystery shopper, Online auction sales, Apartment rentals, Advance Fee loans, Family emergency or a Friend in Need

SCAMMERS may ask you to send money in order to receive a big cash prize & even give you a Cashier’s Check to cover your “taxes” and “fees."

-You might apply for a job online, and your new “employer,” who you haven’t met, sends you a check to set up your new office, asking you to deposit the money into your private account and wire money to the “main office supply company” to have your office supplies sent to you.

-Some consumers have received a frightening call in the middle of the night from someone posing as their grandchild who’s in trouble and needs money wired to them right away. 

The bottom line is once you deposit the check into your personal bank account, take cash out and wire the money to someone, somewhere-you are responsible for the cash you took out of your account, even if you fell for a scam.

SCAMMERS like to get paid using money wiring services because it’s fast; the money is usually picked up in cash and in person making it hard to recover.

The Office of the Attorney General issued the following press release on the Grandparent Scam

http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2012/2012-08-30-grandparent-scams.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Facing  

 

  • Facing Foreclosure?

    Contact the HomeCorps Hotline at (617) 573-5333

    For the Massachusetts Attorney General's Homecorps webpage, click HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Other useful links to Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General programs:

HomeCorps Borrower Representation Initiative

HomeCorps Borrower Recovery Initiative

HomeCorps Crisis Response Innovation Grants

HomeCorps Municipal and Community Restoration Grants

Western Massachusetts Foreclosure Prevention Centers

The Valley Community Development Corporation

Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority

HAPhousing

The Consumer Protection  Unit is one of the local consumer programs throughout the Commonwealth working in cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

Consumer Protection staff are trained to mediate complaints through an informal process involving letters and telephone calls from the consumer and the business, in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. If Consumer Protection staff are unable to resolve your complaint, staff members will discuss the option of redress through small claims court, face-to-face mediation or a private attorney.

CONSUMER PROTECTION COMPLAINT FORM

Should you have a complaint, please fill out an e-complaint by clicking HERE to reach the Massachusetts Attorney General's website. The NWDA will receive your complaint from the AGO and contact you to discuss it further. The Consumer Protection Unit does not provide legal advice or opinions.

FRAUDULENT WEBSITES POSING AS GREEN DOT MONEYPAK CUSTOMER SUPPORT

 

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received numerous complaints reporting fraudulent websites posing as MoneyPak customer support. MoneyPak is a non-reloadable, prepaid product offered by Green Dot.

Complaints indicate victims locate the websites via internet search engines. Interaction between the victims and the fraudulent customer support generally occurs via telephone. The IC3 has noticed different variations of this scam.

1. The victim is seeking a refund from an already purchased MoneyPak card and contacts the information listed on the website. A customer service “representative” will ask the caller to provide the identification number of the prepaid card.

• Example – The victim loaded funds onto a MoneyPak card and now wishes to receive a refund of those funds off of the prepaid card. The representative will ask for the prepaid card number and a credit card or checking account number to which the refund can be processed. At this point, the scammer has access to the funds on the prepaid card and the victim’s personal account.

2. Victim seeks support in connection with loss from other possible scams. The representative will instruct the caller to re-load the card with additional funds equal to the previously lost amount.

• Example – The victim lost $500 from their MoneyPak card to a separate scam and is seeking a refund to the card. The representative will instruct the victim to load an additional $500 to the card. The representative states “re-loading is the only way to process the refund”, and the card will be refunded the full $1,000. Should the victim refuse to re-load the card, the representative will promptly disconnect the call.

 

In most complaints, victims are given a tracking or confirmation number in connection with their call and report to be placed “on hold” for a length of time while the representative claims to be researching the problem regarding the card in question. In all complaints, any funds available on the card are drained while the victim is on hold or immediately after the call is disconnected.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Consumers should only use the website and phone number listed on the back of the MoneyPak prepaid cards. MoneyPak customer support can only be accessed by email request via the website’s online portal. The phone number listed on the back of MoneyPak cards is for adding funds to an existing prepaid card. Green Dot customer service publicizes a customer service number; however, this number will not provide assistance with MoneyPak.

Currently identified fraudulent websites are not secured websites (http).The MoneyPak customer support website is a secured website (https) and does not require personal (date of birth, social security number) to reload a card, add money to PayPal or make payments to authorized partners. Prepaid card information is needed to reload a prepaid card on the valid MoneyPak website. Visit https://www.moneypak.com/ for more information.

FILING A COMPLAINT

Individuals who believe they be a victim of a “MoneyPak Support” scam can file with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov. Please be as descriptive as possible, including prepaid card/account numbers affected and contact information of support “representatives”.

Because scams and fraudulent websites appear very quickly, individuals are encouraged to report possible internet scams and fraudulent websites by filing a complaint with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov.

TIPS ON HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FRAUD:2

1. Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.

2. Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to another party.

3. Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts you control.

4. Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.

5. To use your MoneyPak with PayPal or eBay or other online merchants, transfer the money to your PayPal account before you pay the merchant. Don’t email your MoneyPak number directly to any merchant.

6. Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get the item.

 

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Consumer RESOURCES

AUTOMOBILES                

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:                                                                                 

Buying or Leasing a Vehicle

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

Lemon Laws

Federal Trade Commission

Renting a Car: What Everyone Should Know

Federal Trade Commission

Tips on Used Car Buying

Federal Trade Commission

Getting the most from your Car's Warranty

Federal Trade Commission

Massachusetts Consumer Guide:  Mechanics of Auto Repair

Massachusetts Consumers’ Coalition:

Car Smart

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Registry of Motor Vehicles          

Center for Auto Safety          

Auto Safety, Recalls, Service Bulletins

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Auto Recalls, Highway & Vehicle Safety Standards, Crash Test

AUTO REPAIR

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations:  

Massachusetts Consumer Guide:  Mechanics of Auto Repair

CREDIT AND DEBT

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:

Guide to Consumer Credit

Credit               

Consumer Credit and Fair Debt Collection

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

Managing Credit & Debt

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Money and Credit

CFPB

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Consumer News & Information

Federal Trade Commission:

Credit and Loans

United States Financial Literacy Education Commission:

My Money.gov

CHARITIES

Massachusettts Office of the Attorney General 

FAQs about Charities

Charities and Charitable Giving

Better Business Bureau

Wise Giving Alliance for Charities and Donors

 

CREDIT REPORTS

Federal Trade Commission

Free Annual Credit Report

 

COMPUTERS AND INTERNET PRIVACY

Federal Trade Commission:

Computers and the Internet Privacy and Security

DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General  

National “Do not Call” Registry

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations: 

Do Not Call Program

Federal Trade Commission:

National Do Not Call Registry

Federal Communications Commission (FCC):

Truth about Wireless Phones & the National Do-Not-Call List     

 

FUNERAL PLANNING

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations  

 Consumers Guide to Planning a Funeral

Federal Trade Commission      

 Funerals- A Consumer Guide

Federal Trade Commission-Business Center      

Complying With the Funeral Rule

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:    

Home Improvement

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations:             

MA Guide to Home Improvement

Massachusetts Department of Public Safety      

Construction Supervisor license verification site

 

IDENTITY THEFT

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General 

Identity Theft

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations:    

Identity Theft

Federal Trade Commission

Identity Theft

Fighting back against Identity theft

Medical Identity Theft

 

LANDLORD AND TENANT INFORMATION

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:    

Landlord and Tenant Law

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

Tenant & Landlord

Massachusetts Housing Court Department:

Frequently Asked Questions

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library:           

Massachusetts Law about Landlord and Tenant

LEGAL

Franklin County Bar Association

Referrals

Hampshire County Bar Association

Referrals

Massachusetts Bar Association Referral         866-627-7577

Dial a Lawyer Program

Free legal questions answered:

1st Wednesday of the month    5:30- 7:30                        (617) 338- 0610

Community Legal Aid

 Legal Aid to Low-Income & Elderly Residents of Western MA

National Consumer Law Center

Advocacy Organization

MA Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

Small Claims Court

 

MORTGAGES

Massachusetts Office of Attorney General:     

 Home & Housing

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau                                                                                           Trouble Paying Your Mortgage-Explore options  

 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau                                                                 

Valley Community Development Corporation (Valley CDC):

Building Community through Housing and Business Development 

Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Center:

Housing Consumer Education Center

Consumer Action Housing Help:

Foreclosure Prevention Guide

Massachusetts Housing Court Department

Frequently Asked Questions

RECALL INFORMATION

US Consumer Product Safety Commission:    

Recent Recalls

SHOPPING RIGHTS

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:   

Retail Rights

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations

Shopping Rights

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations:  

Gift Certificate Law

VETERANS

Massachusetts Attorney General's Resource Guide for Veterans

WORKPLACE RIGHTS

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General:    

Workplace Rights & Responsibilities