Thursday August 24, 2017
Vermont Assistant Attorney General Christopher Curtis was in town last week promoting Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s mission to raise awareness of scams and other illegal activity in Vermont targeting consumers. Thursday, August 17, Curtis, who is also Chief of the Public Protection Division, along with Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) Director Ted Hobson and Whytnee Bush, CAP’s small business outreach professional, met with representatives of CVS at their South Burlington location to distribute materials to alert Vermonters about scams in Vermont.
Attorney General T.J. Donovan launched the ScamBuster initiative in May and June of 2017 and is dedicating staff and resources to getting information about scams out to Vermonters throughout the state, including all 10 CVS locations and all six Walmart locations. In addition, Vermont power companies, businesses, and residents have helped raise awareness about combatting recent scam activity in Vermont.
Vermont consumers can also enroll in a new Scam Alert system, part of the Department of Public Safety’s VT-Alert system, to learn about new and ongoing scams in advance. To enroll in the program, Vermonters should contact CAP at 800-649-2424 or visit consumer.vermont.gov, where there are also tips on how to avoid scams. Vermonters can also enroll directly by going to www.vtalert.gov/enroll.
“We continue to raise the alarm about scams in Vermont,” Curtis, noting, “More than half of the consumer complaints we receive relate to telephone and other scams in Vermont. We are seeing increases in the so-called ‘IRS scam’ and utility scams where the scammer threatens to shut off your power unless you pay.” He stresses, “If someone you don’t know calls or emails you, stop, verify, and report it. Don’t give out your personal financial information, and don’t be fooled.”
The IRS scam is typically a telephone call saying you owe “back taxes” or outstanding payments are due to the government, usually from callers claiming to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the US Treasury and Legal Affairs. The Office of the Attorney General cautions Vermonters not to respond to these callers. If you think you may actually owe back taxes, hang up and contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
The Attorney General advises Vermonters who may be targets of scamming activity to report it to CAP at 1-800-649-2424, or visit the CAP website for more information on reported scams in Vermont .