Protect yourself from law-breaking businesses


State and federal authorities are working together to see how they can stop scammers and better protect you.

Attorney General Roy Cooper shared with federal authorities, local attorneys, and public interest groups the scams that are hitting North Carolinians the hardest.

"We are seeing a lot of debt relief scams. We are coming out of this recession, but there are still a lot of people who are hurting.  What's happening is people will come and run these ads promising to get you out of debt or stop foreclosure when all they want to do is take your money up front, and then do very little to help you, it drive people deeper in debt," Cooper said.

Cooper stressed taking any upfront fees for debt or foreclosure relief is against state law.

"We are trying to push people to non-profit counseling who really have their interest at heart.  So if someone asks you for money up front for these sorts of things they are violating the law," Cooper said.

Cooper also urged consumers not to respond to emails, texts, and Facebook offers that make big promises.

Another frustration authorities are trying to tackle is robo calls, which are also illegal in North Carolina.

"We are probably going to be proposing some changes to the law with the general assembly because too many businesses are taking advantage of it and continuing to robo call people using their home phone and cell phone," Cooper said.

Edith Ramirez with the FTC said it's vital that federal and state officials are all on the same page.

"We all need to work together to leverage our resources because the amount of fraud out there is very significant and in order to tackle the major problems we need to work together and collaborate," Ramirez said.

Besides debt and foreclosure relief scams along with robo calls, Cooper said his office also wants to hear from you if you're having trouble with your mortgage company.

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