In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week (March 5-11, 2017), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced the annual Oregon Department of Justice’s 2016 Top Ten Consumer Complaints. For the second year in a row, imposter scam calls, such as the IRS imposter scam, came in as the number one complaint in Oregon. Imposter scam calls received more than five times the number of consumer complaints as the next category.
elecommunications and motor vehicle sales practices took the next two spots. New this year to the list is construction contractors, coming in tenth. elecommunications and motor vehicle sales practices took the next two spots. New this year to the list is construction contractors, coming in tenth.
“We all need to be savvy consumers, and watch out for our friends and family who might fall victim to a scam. Today’s scammers are quick, sophisticated, and will take your money in a few seconds if they can,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.
“Each year our list of Top Ten Scams evolves, but our biggest piece of advice stays the same. If somebody contacts you out of the blue, do not engage with them: hang up the phone or delete the email! And, the cardinal rule still applies—If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said the DOJ’s Consumer Education and Outreach Director, Ellen Klem.
The full list of 2016 consumer complaints can be found here:
- Imposter Scam Calls (5,049 complaints)
- Telecommunications (941 complaints)
- Motor Vehicle Sales (572 complaints)
- Financial Services (358 complaints)
- Health Related (300 complaints)
- Collection Agencies (232 complaints)
- International Money Transfer Schemes (226 complaints)
- Auto Repair (203 complaints)
- Home Ownership Issues (192 complaints)
- Construction Contractors (164 complaints)
The imposter scam call can work in several ways. The most popular method is when a fraudster calls you and pretends to be the IRS, a police officer or even a grandchild. While each pitch is different, all of the scammers will ask for money over the phone or by money card to pay down a debt, tax bill, or even bail a grandchild out of jail. Remember this: No law enforcement officer or government agency will ever call and ask you to pay over the phone or to pay by money order.
Oregon has one of the most successful consumer protection and education programs in the country. The entire program operates exclusively on funds recovered from businesses that break the law.
Last year, Attorney General Rosenblum also released the Just Hang Up campaign, designed to demonstrate when it is okay to hang up on a phony call. The hand-out can be downloaded here.
If you think you have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call our hotline at 1-877-877-9392.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002