The Norfolk District Attorney's Office offers a free informal mediation service aimed at resolving disputes between consumers and merchants outside of court. This office works in cooperation with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office on consumer issues, education and complaints.

Mediation helps you and the other party try to resolve the problem through facilitated dialogue.  Although we cannot compel a business to take part in this voluntary mediation service, many businesses do.

When appropriate, the Consumer Protection Division will refer parties to face-to-face mediation programs, provide small claims assistance and/or refer to a private attorney.

The Consumer Protection Division does not provide legal advice or opinions.

If you need assistance before you make a purchase or after unsuccessfully trying to resolve the problem on your own, please call the Consumer Protection Division at 781-830-4800 ext. 279.

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Norfolk County Prevention Coalition
CONSUMER PROTECTION


Consumer Protection Tips

Government Grant Scam
The call came from a local South Shore consumer where she received a call from #206-317-1464 claiming to be Peter Watson with the “U.S. Government in Washington, D.C., Grant Department”.  The scammer knew the consumers name, address, D.O.B and Social Security number.  She was eligible for a $7,000.00 Federal Grant for her own personal use and that it didn’t have to be paid back. 

The scammer when on to say that she was chosen because of her good credit and lack of criminal history. He told her that she to provide them with the correct numbers to either her bank account, a Greendot card or debit card and the money would then be deposited within ½ an hour.

Federal Grants are not issued for personal use, but are intended
for institutions and non-profits to carry out projects with a public purpose.

If you think someone has fraudulently represented Grant.Gov contact the hotline at 800-447-8477 and email support@grants.gov

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Savvy Seniors | How to avoid financial fraud
The Savvy Seniors Guide features the most common scams targeting elders. Scams can materialize in many different ways and this guide provides the most popular scams, warnings signs to look out for, what to do should you become a victim, as well as a number of other useful resources throughout the state and country. To view and print this guide, click here:


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Protecting your personal information

Many sites offer access to provide a free credit report. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official site directed by Federal Law to provide them. Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the credit reporting agencies.f th Visit Annual Credit Report today!
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Don’t Get Scammed
How to spot and stay ahead of the latest scams with tips from the Federal Trade Commission.

“We’re with Windows” Scam
The Federal Trade Commission warns of a scam that tricked tens
of thousands of computer users into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then paying the scammers hundreds of dollars to “fix” the problem. Click here to learn more

Utility Company shut-off or pay up with Green Dot Cards Scam
Scammers call you pretending to be with your local Utility Company saying they are going to immediately shut off your electricity unless you pay up with Green Dot Cards. Click here to learn more.

Ring, Ring, Robocall Scam
As part of its ongoing effort to end illegal robocalls, the FTC announced settlements with two more unscrupulous companies that made prerecorded calls to trick consumers into paying for deceptive credit card interest rate reduction plans.

Here’s what to do when you get an unsolicited robocall:  

  • Don’t respond, just hang up. If you get a call, don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other number to be removed from the list. If you respond in any way, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

  • Contact your phone provider. Ask your phone provider if they charge for a service that blocks that particular number. Remember that telemarketers change the numbers they call from easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will almost always change.

  • Put your phone number on the Do Not Call registry.Access the registry online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

  • File a complaint with the FTC. Report the experience online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

Storm-Damaged Vehicles Scam
If you’re shopping for a new vehicle, steer clear of flood-damaged cars in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Click here to learn more.
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Veterans Resource Guide | Click here
If you are a Veteran or are currently serving in the United States Military, including the National Guard or Reserves, there are laws designed to protect you against discrimination in employment, help you avoid credit or foreclosure problems, and maximize your healthcare, disability, and education benefits.  This guide is designed to help inform you of your rights, and the benefits and protections available.



Thank you for the service and sacrifices that you and your families have made to serve our country and Massachusetts.
 
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Consumer Protection QUIZ | click HERE



ANSWERS TO CONSUMER PROTECTION QUIZ
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Consumer Advisory
Insurance, telephone/cable and home improvement top the list of consumer issues for 2014


Below are a few issues affecting Massachusetts residents today For additional information, click on each link:

Auto Insurance
Massachusetts Division of Insurance
Health Insurance and Home Insurance
www.mass.gov/doi
617.521.7794
Questions about claims, adjusters or denial of claims

Mortgages, Loan Modifications and Forclosures
Attorney General's Office
www.mass.gov/ago/homecorps
617.573.5333
For those facing foreclosure or seeking support with borrowing

Foreign Lottery Scams
U.S. Postal Service | Consumer Fraud Unit
www.deliveringtrust.com
https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov
877.876.2445
Issues that may require reporting: telemarketing from a Jamaican location, foreign lottery winning, work at home schemes, check deposit/money wiring, reporting or to
check for the frauds or scams

Protecting Your Personal Information
Massachusetts Division of Banks
This site provides all the steps you should follow if you are a victim of identity theft. : Check your credit report and your rights available to you if you suspect someone could be using your identity, taken out a credit card in your name, or if your personal information was stolen thru computer hacking or thief of your home or pocketbook www.mass.gov/dob

Consumer.gov
http://www.consumer.gov
1-877-IDTHEFT to report suspicious activity

Transunion
www.transunion.com
800.680.7289

Experian
www.experian.com
888.397.3742

Equifax 
www.equifax.com
800.525.6285
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Home Improvement Contractors

Items to be aware of before and after you hire a contractor; i.e. license, registration referrals:

Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and
Business Regulations

www.mass.gov/consumer

Check to see if the contractor has a license: 
www.mass.gov/dps

Check to see if the contract is registered: www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/home-improvement-contract/hic-registration/

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Federal Resources

Annual Credit Report
This site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.


Federal Trade Commission
(FTC)
Consult the FTC for information regarding scams on the internet, advertising practices and consumer education.

Better Business Bureau
The Better Bureau allows you to file a complaint, check out a business or charity before working with them or to keep up on the latest consumer issue or scam.

National Do Not Call 888.382.1222
(and cell phone)

Massachusetts Do Not Call 866.231.2255
(does not apply to cell phones)

Consumers should put landlines on both the national and the state DNC registries.  Cell phones can only be put on the national list.  The DNC registry is updated quarterly, so it may take up to three months for consumers to see the effects.  You have to put your number back on the list every seven years.  The DNC registries do not apply to business lines.

Credit Card offers Opt-Out 888.5.OPTOUT

This is to opt out of credit card offers that come in the mail saying that you are pre-qualified for a card you did to want or sign up for.












If you have a complaint
please download and complete the below form

Consumer Complaint Form

Mail to:
Joanne M. Dalabon
Norfolk District Attorney's
Office Consumer Protection Division
45 Shawmut Road
Canton, MA 02021

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Local Consumer
programs are available throughout Norfolk County


METROWEST
Consumer Assistance
Natick, MA
508-651-8812

MASSPIRG
Consumer Assistance
Weymouth, MA
781-335-0280

NEWTON-BROOKLINE
Consumer Office
Newton, MA
617-796-1292

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Massachusetts Resources

Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AGO)
The Attorney General’s Office is a resource to residents who are facing challenges in the area of consumer protection, fraud, civil rights, healthcare and insurance issues.  The AGO also has an Elder Hotline to assist seniors and their families about elder related issues and programs available.
www.mass.gov/ago

Office of Consumer Affairs
www.mass.gov/ocabr

Lemon Law
For new and used vehicles

Lemon Aid Law
Available for cars purchased under 7 days

Check a Home Improvement
Contractors Registration

Department of Telecommunication
Contact information for your
local utility company. Online complaint form.

Division of Bank
Information on Foreclosure Prevention Resources, Debt Collection Rights, Identity Theft, Bank & Credit Union

Division of Standards
Enforces laws, rules and regulations relating to weights
& measures in commercial transactions (for example: gas stations & price accuracy scanning)

Division of Insurance

Compare Auto
insurance premiums

Find an Insurance Agent

Massachusetts Department of Public Safety The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety provides a source to Check for a Home Improvements Contractor License.

Small Claims Court
This site provides contact information for all the courts.
For assistance with questions you may have about how small claims court works or what to expect.

Massachusetts
Consumer Coalition

The Massachusetts Consumer Coalition is responsible for putting together a comprehensive guide for purchasing a vehicle.  CARSMART is a consumer guide for leasing and repairing a car in Massachusetts all explained in a simple, easy to understand way.

Norfolk County Bar Association The Norfolk County Bar Association offers a free evening legal clinic available to residents of Norfolk County.  Free legal clinic is held from 6pm – 8pm on assigned Tuesday evenings at either Quincy or Dedham District Court.  Click on the link and check the schedule under “clinics”.