If you've been flustered by your dealings with insurers, phone companies, cable, home improvement contractors or issues related to your car - you've got plenty of company. Officials with the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation said today those areas generated the most calls and emails to their office in 2013.
"These top five issues are no surprise given the consumer climate in 2013," said Consumer Affairs chief Barbara Anthony.
Old scams continue to vex consumers, too, she said. Attorney General Martha Coakley said they often target those who can least afford to be victimized.
"Our office continues to see many deceptive foreclosure and loan modification scams preying on borrowers who are desperately trying to save their homes," Coakley said. "As always, we encourage consumers to do their homework, be cautious about sharing personal information, and make sure that they are dealing with a reputable entity before making purchases or investments."
At an announcement in Boston about what consumers are complaining about, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which sees fraud from a different angle, also issued a caution about lottery and sweepstakes scams.
"When one family member is harmed, the impact can be monumental. Entire fortunes, inheritances, and retirement security can be wiped-out," Postal Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski said. "Most, if not all, foreign lottery come-ons sent to U.S. addresses through the mail are bogus and illegal. They don’t come from foreign government agencies or licensees. Instead, they come from con artists who take your money and give you nothing in return.”
The Postal Inspection Service has a site aimed at trying to help consumers avoid such frauds.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com