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Attorney General Josh Stein’s Tips during National Consumer Protection Week

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(RALEIGH)  This year during National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Josh Stein is sharing valuable information to help North Carolinians protect themselves from frauds, scams, bad actors, and financial loss.

Last year in North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Justice received 20,464 complaints about scams and damaging business practices. These scams cost consumers millions of dollars and often come with the loss of personal and financial information.

“Scammers and bad actors are incredibly creative in coming up with tricks and lies to take people’s hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That’s why we work to educate consumers about warning signs and other ways to prevent becoming victims of scams and frauds.”

Here are some preventive measures consumers can take:

  • Never pay up front fees to win a prize or sweepstakes or get a loan. Upfront fees are against the law in North Carolina.
  • Never share personal or financial information unless you know who you are speaking with, and why they need that information.
  • Don’t feel pressured to give in to threats of arrest or fines. No law enforcement or government agency, such as the IRS, will call you to threaten to arrest you because they claim you owe money or have broken a law.
  • Monitor your credit regularly. You can get a free annual credit report from each of three credit bureaus and a free security freeze on your credit report at
  • If you’re asked to buy prepaid gift or online cards to pay for anything, it’s almost certainly a scam. Don’t make the purchase.

Here are some recent scams to watch out for:

  • IRS scams
    • Scammers will contact you claiming to be from the IRS or the Treasury Department, and will claim you owe taxes or unpaid fees. They may threaten to contact local law enforcement if you don’t make the payments, and they may ask you to pay in the form of prepaid gift cards.
  • Sweepstakes scams
    • These scams calls often begin with the callers tell you you’ve won a lottery and additional prizes. These scammers will ask you to send advance money to cover upfront fees.
  • Sweetheart scams
    • Sweetheart scammers will build a relationship with someone and pretend to fall in love to win trust and money.

If you or someone you know may have been the victim of a scam or fraud, you can file a complaint with the NCDOJ online or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. You can also visit for more information, sign up for NCDOJ’s consumer alerts about the latest scams, and find more consumer protection tips on Facebook and Twitter.

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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