For Immediate Release
December 30, 2008
Lauren J. Noether
As 2008 draws to a close, Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte encourages people to add some consumer-friendly activities to their list of New Year's resolutions. "These simple tips, such as monitoring your credit report to guard against identity theft, staying safe online, reporting scams, and learning about credit, can save consumers time and aggravation in the upcoming year. Taking some proactive steps as suggested below may help prevent consumer fraud in the first place."
1. Get a free copy of your credit report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only site consumers can depend on for a truly free credit report with no strings attached. To learn more about credit, mortgages, debt collection, and other financial issues visit http://www.ftc.gov/credit.
2. Stay safe online. The Internet provides access to information, entertainment, financial offers – in short, a world of countless products and services. Use security software and keep it up-to-date to reduce your risks from scammers, identity thieves, phishers, and more. Go to the New Hampshire Attorney General's online Identity Theft Toolkit http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/protection_kit.html to learn more. To keep children safe online, see http://www.connectwithyourkids.org.
3. Deter identity theft. Information packages at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft can help consumers deter, detect, and defend against ID theft, and minimize the damage it can cause. Consumers who are concerned that they may be a victim of identity theft can visit the New Hampshire Attorney General's online Identity Theft Toolkit at http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/protection_kit.html, or the Federal Trade Commission's Web site at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
4. Foil a phone fraudster. Criminals use the phone to commit many different types of fraud, including sweepstakes and lottery frauds, loan fraud, buying club memberships, and credit card scams. Find out how to avoid them at http://www.ftc.gov/phonefraud.
5. Register a number. The National Do Not Call Registry gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Telemarketers are prohibited from calling phone numbers that have been on the Registry for more than 31 days. If calls are received, consumers can file a complaint with the FTC. To register a home or mobile phone number for free, visit http://www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.
6. Teach a kid about commerce. Take a kid to http://www.ftc.gov/youarehere, a virtual mall with interactive activities that provide lessons about advertising, marketing, and the benefits of competition. At this free site, kids can design and print advertisements, uncover suspicious claims in an ad, and play games that reveal the secrets behind pricing.
7. Save energy. Consumers can save energy and money – whether they are buying a new refrigerator or trying to reduce their home heating and cooling bills. Find out how to save money in virtually every room of the home at http://www.ftc.gov/energysavings.
8. Have some healthy skepticism. At http://www.ftc.gov/health, consumers can learn how to spot health scams, such as fake cancer cures and bogus weight loss products, and do some research on buying generic drugs, Lasik eye surgery, and using dietary supplements. Consumers can also learn about rights they may not even know they had – like the right to obtain a copy of prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
9. Report a rip-off. If you believe that a business has engaged in an unfair or deceptive practice, file a complaint with the New Hampshire Attorney General at http://www.egov.nh.gov/identity-theft and with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. Your complaints can help reveal patterns of business wrongdoing, and lead to investigations and prosecutions. The FTC enters all complaints it receives into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database that is used by thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide.
The New Hampshire Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau works to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive trade practices in New Hampshire. When businesses provide poor quality services or products, misrepresent services or products, or fail to deliver them, , the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau may question the businesses' practices and seek appropriate measures to remedy the situation on behalf of the State of New Hampshire. The Bureau's mission also includes consumer education and outreach. The best consumer protection is widespread public awareness of consumer's rights and common scams. For more information, visit the Consumer Protection Web site at http://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/ or call toll free in New Hampshire 1-888-468-4454.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301