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    Attorney General Chris Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King are urging Georgians to be on the lookout for potential home repair fraud, insurance scams, price gouging, and other schemes following the recent tornadoes and severe storms that moved throughout the state. “With con artists ready to prey on those impacted by the recent storms, we want to ensure that consumers are aware of their protections under the law and know how to spot a scam,” said Attorney General Carr. “If your home or business was damaged, we urge you to thoroughly research a contractor before hiring anyone to make repairs. We understand this is a difficult time for many families across our state, and our Consumer Protection Division stands ready to assist any Georgian who thinks they have encountered potential fraud.” “Unfortunately, bad actors know to target victims at their most vulnerable, such as after a storm-related loss,” said Commissioner King. “Beware of anyone who shows up at your home or place of business immediately after a storm. Your first...
    Attorney General Chris Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King are warning consumers whose homes were damaged by the recent flooding in northwest Georgia to be on the lookout for home repair fraud and price gouging. “With scammers ready to prey on vulnerable storm victims, we want to ensure that Georgians are aware of their protections under the law and know how to spot and avoid a scam,” said Attorney General Carr. “If your home was damaged by the recent flooding, contact your insurance provider and thoroughly research a contractor before hiring anyone to make repairs. We know the aftermath of severe weather can be difficult for those impacted, and we stand ready to assist any Georgian who thinks they may have encountered a storm-related scam.” “Scammers strike when you are at your most vulnerable, and in the wake of this flooding, the last thing you should have to worry about is being exploited,” said Commissioner King. “Before signing or paying for anything, contact your insurance provider to check what damages...
    WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Two-and-a-half years ago, the families of Thor and Huckleberry sent their dogs to the care of Benjamin Friedenberg of Soquel. The families haven't seen their dogs since, and Friendenberg isn't saying what happened to them. It's the latest in a long line of troubling stories concerning the unregulated dog training industry.Friedenberg is currently serving a prison sentence of six years for four counts of grand theft and two other charges related to this and other cases involving consumer fraud. There are currently no minimum requirements for anyone to call themselves a dog trainer. Assemblyperson Rebecca Bauer-Kahan had pledged to reintroduce legislation that would change that, but so far the legislator, who represents much of the Tri-Valley, says she hasn't made a final decision.Watching video of her German Shepherd Thor still brings a smile to the face of Lauren Myers of Watsonville.She sent the puppy you see here to Benjamin Friedenberg for training.Thor was a ball of energy. Myers had hopes Friedenberg could help calm Thor down. "In a month he would come back to us. He...
    Attorney General Chris Carr is recognizing International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 14 – 20, 2021, by encouraging Georgia consumers to learn the red flags of a scam to protect their personal and financial information. “Scammers are constantly adapting their fraudulent schemes to new technologies, seasonal happenings, the latest trends and current events,” said Carr. “To stay ahead of these deceptive tactics, we urge all Georgians to familiarize themselves with the common signs of a scam and to take precautions to protect their privacy and their finances.” Red Flags of a Scam: Being asked to pay money, for any reason, in order to receive a prize or get a job. Pressure to act immediately. Use of scare tactics, e.g. telling you a loved one is in danger, that your computer has been hacked, that you will be billed for a large amount of money or threatening arrest if you do not act now. Insistence that you pay by gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency. Receiving a check or overpayment and being asked to wire a portion of the funds back....
    "Woke Inc." author Vivek Ramaswamy argued Facebook should be held accountable if it is "lying" about consumer safeguards during an interview on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday, saying it could be a case of "consumer fraud." Ramaswamy warned against making the platform responsible for potential effects on teen users saying doing so could actually make it even "more socially powerful than it is." His remarks come as a Facebook whistleblower is expected to testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday over the platform's potential impact on some young users.  FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER HEARING: WHAT TO KNOW VIVEK RAMASWAMY: I'm a critic of Facebook, and I think there's a lot to criticize Facebook for, but I think we can't be sloppy about what we criticize them for and what we don't. I think that this whistleblower sounds to me a lot like a disgruntled employee who might have been fired, who's frustrated and actually throwing the kitchen sink at the company, without having actually have elevated her concerns with the company. Steals confidential data and exposes it publicly? I don't think that's the right...
    Visoot Uthairam | Moment | Getty Images Scammers have bilked Americans out of $545 million in Covid-related fraud since the beginning of 2020 in a range of schemes from online shopping to travel, according to the FTC. The agency received almost 589,000 consumer complaints associated with the pandemic from Jan. 1, 2020 to Aug. 30, 2021. Roughly 61% of the reports concerned fraud; the median loss was $380. "Scammers always take advantage of disasters, manmade or natural," Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group, said last month.Consumer complaintsPrice-gouging was the most commonly reported pandemic-related issue in 2020, according to state and local consumer agencies polled for a recent Consumer Federation of America report. Consumers complained of being charged exorbitant prices for sought-after products such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper and masks. Agencies also received Covid-associated complaints in a wide range of other categories, such as evictions, canceled events and travel, schools and childcare, the report said. More from Personal Finance:Top colleges with the most generous financial aid offersMillions of Americans...
    simonlong | Moment | Getty Images Consumer losses due to Covid-related fraud top $500 million, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. The agency has received more than 558,000 complaints from consumers related to the pandemic since the start of 2020. About 60% of the complaints were associated with fraud, citing an aggregate loss of $501 million through July 22. The typical person lost about $370, according to the agency. More from Personal Finance:More than half of adults have unused gift cardsOpting out of monthly child tax credit pay may make sense for someWhat to know before adding cryptocurrency to your retirement portfolio "Scammers always take advantage of disasters, manmade or natural," said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group. Criminals have used multiple avenues to steal money from unsuspecting Americans, including fraud related to online shopping, travel and government stimulus funds during the pandemic, according to federal data.Covid consumer complaintsMeanwhile, price-gouging was the most commonly reported pandemic-related issue in 2020, according to state and local consumer agencies polled...
    ALSIP, Ill. -- Some people have trouble getting their EDD benefits. Others are being notified they're getting benefits and don't even understand how.Janet Pierucci's story started with Best Buy one year ago.The retired Chicago-area woman received an invoice from a location in San Francisco for $2,300.The retailer billed her for five iPhones and a payment plan she didn't buy.She immediately contacted Best Buy's fraud department.RELATED: Easier to get Real ID or EDD benefits? This woman defies the odds"They told me from what they could gather that my Social Security information was compromised and some other things, and what I needed to do," she said.She followed Best Buy's advice by freezing her credit and filing a fraud report. Best Buy then zeroed out her account.Unfortunately, this year she began receiving text messages from a number she didn't recognize, with various links.She assumed the texts came from some scammer who wanted to infect her phone with a virus."So I deleted probably the first five or six, if not more. And then I finally started to notice that it progressively going on about...
    SAN FRANCISCO — Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who founded a biotech company that tested fecal matter are accused of bilking their investors and health insurance providers, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Zachary Schulz Apte and Jessica Sunshine Richman, co-founders of now-bankrupt microbiome testing company uBiome, were indicted Thursday on multiple federal charges, including conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering. Their court appearances have not been scheduled, and it was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf. Apte, 36, and Richman, 46, founded uBiome in 2012 as a direct-to-consumer service called “Gut Explorer.” Customers would submit a fecal sample that the company analyzed in a laboratory, comparing the consumer’s microbiome to others’ microbiomes, prosecutors said. The service cost less than $100 initially. The company grew to include “clinical” tests of gut and vaginal microbiomes, which were aimed to be used by medical providers so uBiome could seek up to $3,000 in reimbursements from health insurance companies. Related Articles State denies parole to Santa Cruz serial killer...
    CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is launching a new campaign to inform and protect consumers.The "Be Informed. Be Protected" campaign aims to give residents tips and resources on a number of topics includes issues with home repair businesses, online shopping fraud, and predatory lenders.The campaign launch coincides with the Federal Trade Commission's National Consumer Protection WeekAs part of this effort to help people understand their consumer rights, there will be a webinar on fighting fraud at 9:30 a.m.For more information and to register for the webinar, visit chicago.gov/businesseducation.
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A year into the pandemic and the state's unemployment call center is still overwhelmed with callers.On Thursday, the Employment Development Department announced that 251 new call center workers completed the department's expedited training program earlier this week.But even with nearly 3,500 agents, the average wait time to reach someone is about 40 minutes.RELATED: Man has to pay $3,000 in surprise taxes after EDD withholding mistakeAlso, fraud remains a big issue. EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy says California is not alone."Of course the issue of unprecedented fraud is much bigger than just California. It is indeed a nationwide issue. Virtually every state in the nation is experiencing a barrage of fraudulent activity on a scale we have just simply never seen before. The US Labor Department Inspector General's office estimates that more than $63 billion nationally has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors," Levy said.RELATED: California couple battles EDD bureaucracy after finding $25,000 in stolen unemployment moneyThe department said that if unemployed Californians receive a tax form they don't agree with -- or think is a...
    New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday kicked off National Consumer Protection Week by releasing a list of the top consumer scams perpetrated against New Yorkers in 2020 — many of which had to do with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis — in addition to a variety of tips on how New Yorkers can avoid COVID-19 scams in the future. “The havoc unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the numerous other ways consumers were defrauded in 2020, sadly resulted in my office receiving a record number of consumer fraud complaints in 2020,” said Attorney General James. “Consumers who have helped identify and report issues to our office have been invaluable partners in our efforts to stop deceptive scams and will continue to be vital partners going forward. I urge all New Yorkers to follow these tips to minimize the risk of falling victim to fraud.” The nature of complaints received by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in 2020 reflected great consumer harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After analyzing consumer complaints received statewide...
    PITTSBURGH, Calif. -- It's been a rough few weeks for a Contra Costa County woman trying to reclaim her EDD benefits. A former cybercriminal reveals what he thinks went wrong for EDD and hundreds of thousands of Californians.Lupita Alvarez treated herself to a glass of milk.Back in November, she withdrew money from her EDD benefits card at an ATM in Pittsburg.An hour later, she says a fraudster drained what was left in her account from an ATM in North Hollywood.She contacted 7 on Your Side. We contacted Bank of America and it promptly returned her money."That made me feel great. I was like, okay. That was very good. Thanks," said Alvarez.RELATED: California unemployment fraud 4 times worse than first reported; $8 billion paid to criminals EMBED More News Videos How did California handle its unemployment crisis compared to other states? The amount of unemployment funds stolen from California taxpayers in 2020 may total more than $8 billion -- four times higher than estimated just one month ago. Unfortunately her elation didn't last long.On Christmas Eve, she received a letter from...
    PITTSBURGH, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been a rough few weeks for a Contra Costa County woman trying to reclaim her EDD benefits. A former cybercriminal reveals what he thinks went wrong for EDD and hundreds of thousands of Californians.Lupita Alvarez treated herself to a glass of milk.Back in November, she withdrew money from her EDD benefits card at an ATM in Pittsburg.An hour later, she says a fraudster drained what was left in her account from an ATM in North Hollywood.She contacted 7 on Your Side. We contacted Bank of America and it promptly returned her money."That made me feel great. I was like, okay. That was very good. Thanks," said Alvarez.RELATED: California unemployment fraud 4 times worse than first reported; $8 billion paid to criminals EMBED More News Videos How did California handle its unemployment crisis compared to other states? The amount of unemployment funds stolen from California taxpayers in 2020 may total more than $8 billion -- four times higher than estimated just one month ago. Unfortunately her elation didn't last long.On Christmas Eve, she received a letter...
    seksan Mongkhonkhamsao Americans have lost $145 million to fraud related to Covid-19, according to Federal Trade Commission data. Consumers have filed more than 205,000 reports of fraud linked to the coronavirus since the beginning of the year, according to the federal agency. The average loss was $300, according to the FTC. But financial loss among seniors who are at least 80 years old, despite being victimized less frequently than others, was more than double at $655 for the typical person. More from Personal Finance:$300 unemployment benefits end in at least 9 states as stimulus hopes fadeOpen enrollment is coming up — here's what to watch out forHere are 3 things to keep in mind to handle market volatility Scammers have used multiple avenues to steal money from unsuspecting Americans, including crimes around financial relief like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, fake treatments for Covid-19 and fraudulent charities. "While people are scared about their health and finances, con artists are having a field day," said Lucy Baker, a consumer Program Associate at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.VIDEO1:4101:41How the CDC's eviction moratorium...
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