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NCDOJ Consumer Protection Chief Testifies Before U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and COVID-19 Scams

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Kevin Anderson, Senior Deputy Attorney General and Director, Consumer Protection Division at the North Carolina Department of Justice, today testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce during a hearing entitled “Consumers Beware: Increased Risks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In his testimony, Mr. Anderson outlines some scams the office has seen and action the Consumer Protection Division has taken.

“Kevin and the other attorneys and staff in my Consumer Protection Division are working hard every day to protect North Carolinians from scams,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Sadly, scammers will turn any crisis into an opportunity to steal your money – and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. I am proud of the work my office is doing to prevent scams and hold scammers accountable.”

From Mr. Anderson’s testimony:

“Consumer protection enforcers know from experience that when a crisis hits, scammers emerge to try to take advantage of the public. Scammers will promote phony miracle cures to consumers wanting to protect their health. They will impersonate government agencies and try to trick consumers to pay fees or provide financial information by claiming that consumers must immediately provide the information or face a dire consequence. And scammers will sometimes engage in price gouging and charge grossly excessive amounts of money for desperately needed goods and services.

“What follows is a sampling of some of the COVID-19 scams that states have seen or heard about to date:

“In North Carolina, for example, we sent a cease and desist letter to a self-proclaimed “witch doctor” promoting a miracle cure for COVID-19 via a billboard, resulting in an end to the billboard advertisement. We also sent such a letter to a chiropractor who briefly claimed via the Internet that a number of studies showed chiropractic treatment could cure COVID-19, and helped stop that activity. We sued a towing company engaging in the type of activity described above, alleged a violation of North Carolina’s price gouging law and obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against it. And we have a number of COVID-19 scam and price gouging investigations still under way. Other states are engaging in similar efforts, although we each have to rely on the particular evidence and facts that come to light in our respective states.”

For full text of Mr. Anderson’s testimony, please click here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

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