General Gansler Releases Special Edition of
The Consumer’s Edge in Recognition of “National Consumer
Protection Week 2010”
MD ( March 8, 2010) - In recognition of National
Consumer Protection Week, March 7 – March 13, Attorney
General Douglas F. Gansler released today a special edition
of the Consumer Protection Division’s bimonthly newsletter,
The Consumer’s Edge. This year’s theme is “Dollars
and Sense: Rated ‘A’ for All Ages.” Reflecting
the need to educate consumers of all ages, the special edition
newsletter has articles for all age groups, from children to
retired seniors. The special edition Consumer’s Edge
is available online at http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/ncpw_2010.pdf.
“Marylanders should share the newsletter with their family
and friends to educate them on the risks of becoming a victim of
identity theft or of a scammer,” said Attorney General Gansler. “An
educated consumer is an empowered consumer, and National Consumer
Protection Week highlights important topics consumers need to be
aware of and the many services provided by the Office of the Attorney
The special edition
Consumer’s Edge includes articles on:
- Debt Settlement and Debt Management – Consumers
often mistake the two, but it is important to know the difference.
Debt management companies are required to be licensed in Maryland
and allow consumers to consolidate their debts into a single monthly
payment, which is then distributed to the consumers’ creditors.
Debt settlement companies are not licensed and offer plans that
may be riskier. Regardless, consumers should be skeptical of any
savings promised by questionable ads.
- Identity Theft – When a person uses the name, Social
Security number, bank account number, credit card number or other
personal identifying information of someone else to commit fraud,
it is called “identity theft.” Marylanders may call
the Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491 or visit www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft
for more information.
- Protecting Private Information – Attorney
General Gansler highlights the top five ways to protect personal
He asks consumers to limit the amount of personal information they
disclose; protect their Social Security numbers; never give out
personal information through e-mail or the phone; be careful disposing
of mail in the trash; and utilize services to limit telemarketing,
junk mail and unwanted commercial e-mails.
- Internet Privacy – Teenagers
need to be aware of phishing scams; whom they speak with in online
chat rooms; what
they post online in forums or on social networking sites; how
to recognize illegitimate websites; and how to avoid downloading
- Pyramid Schemes – In a typical pyramid scheme, a
consumer pays a set amount to the promoter to join the pyramid
and then convinces others to do the same. These scams are “pyramids” because
part of each new participant’s investment goes to earlier
investors, forming a payment structure that looks like a pyramid.
Pyramid schemes often try to pass themselves off as multilevel
marketing or network marketing plans, where profits are made
from recruitment of others rather than sales of services. In
no governmental agency approves or registers any multilevel marketing
- Investment Fraud Protection – When
looking for a stockbroker or financial planner, or when choosing
consumers should take their time. Any investment worth making
will still be available after doing research and asking advice
- Retirement Assets Protection – Successful
con artists sound and look extremely professional and have the
ability to make
even the flimsiest investment deal sound as safe and sound as putting
money in the bank. Marylanders should keep an eye on the progress
of all investments, and insist on regular oral and visual reports.
For more information
on the featured topics, consumers should contact the Office of
the Attorney General at 410-576-6300 or toll-free
at 1-888-743-0023. They may also visit the Attorney General’s
website at www.oag.state.md.us.
The Office of the
Attorney General distributes The Consumer’s
Edge to more than 900 businesses, agencies, schools and community
associations. Groups interested in receiving a monthly issue should
call 410-576-6956 or e-mail email@example.com to be
placed on the e-mail distribution list.