- Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
- Better Business Bureau Serving E. MA, ME, RI & VT and the Better Business Bureau Serving Central and Western MA and Northeastern CT
- AARP Massachusetts
Media Contact for Consumer Agencies Host Forum on How to Recognize and Avoid Scams
Carolyn Assa, Director of Communications, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont along with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR), AARP of Massachusetts, and the BBB Serving Central and Western MA and Northeastern CT will host a virtual consumer protection forum designed to empower consumers against known scams.
This one-hour forum will feature experts from each of the partner organizations as they discuss a gamut of frauds targeting seniors and others throughout the Commonwealth. Attendees will leave with information and resources for identifying and combatting common scams. This virtual event will be held on Wednesday, 3/3/21 at 3pm. It is free and open to all. Register here.
“The BBB is committed to investigating and exposing fraud against consumers, and to providing consumers with information that can help them make informed decisions about the businesses they hire and the purchases they make,” said Paula Fleming, CMSO of the Better Business Bureau Serving E. MA, ME, RI & VT. “We feel that by collaborating with the BBB of Central and Western Mass, AARP, and OCABR we will be able to reach and inform a larger group of consumers.”
During the forum, attendees can ask questions of the experts and receive real-time responses. The webinar will cover things like COVID-19 related scams, tax scams, and identity theft as well as inform consumers about resources that each agency offers from hotline phone numbers to how to check the reputation of a vendor. Participants will learn to recognize signs of common scams, empowering them to be better able to avoid falling prey to fraudsters.
“Our goal is to ensure that consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions about those they plan to do business with,” said Nancy Cahalen, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Central and Western MA and Northeastern CT. “We advise consumers to check bbb.org for feedback on vendors and businesses they may engage to determine whether they live up to BBB’s Standards for Trust. These standards are not complicated and may even strike some as common sense, yet many businesses are unable to live up to these expectations and their reputations suffer for it!
“Most people over 50+ are on some form of social media and virtual communications, especially these days when all are adhering to social distancing mandates. So, it is more important than ever for everyone to be aware of vulnerabilities they may face communicating and/or doing business online,” said Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts State Director. “The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a trusted source for resources and information and we are happy to host this event with our partner consumer agencies.”
As technology advances and the world continues to change, consumers will need to continually adapt and learn about how to protect themselves from new and evolving deceptions. The best way to do that is to have reliable sources like the BBB, AARP, and OCABR to turn to for guidance, resources, and training. The Consumer Forum on How to Recognize and Avoid Scams gives an overview of the most prevalent scams facing consumers today and offers tips to recognize a scam.
“We have seen an uptick in fraudulent activity since the start of the pandemic including sales of fake COVID-19 test kits, fee-based offers to move your name higher on the vaccination list, and phishing schemes in which victims are offered advance access to stimulus money when they share personal information and pay a fee,” said Edward A. Palleschi, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “OCABR seeks to inform and empower consumers throughout the Commonwealth and in doing so protect them from scams of this nature.”