Attorney General Josh Stein works to protect North Carolina consumers from scams and frauds. Stein and his Consumer Protection Division have helped hundreds of thousands of consumers like you get more than $100 million of your money back, and have helped win $250 million in savings on your utility rates.
How We Help Consumers
If you’ve been tricked or scammed, we want to help.
Attorney General Josh Stein’s Consumer Protection experts protect North Carolina consumers. We fight unfair business practices like scams and frauds. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of consumers like you get more than $100 million of your money back, and have helped win $250 million in savings on your utility rates.
File a Complaint
You can file a complaint with us and we’ll work to resolve it. We respond to 20,000 consumer complaints each year. If we find a pattern of illegal business practices, we can enforce the law on behalf of all North Carolina consumers. While we can’t represent you in a private legal case, we may be able to help if you didn’t get what you paid for or were tricked into a bad deal.
We want to help you avoid problems from the start. Watch the video Standing Up, Fighting Back to learn about frauds and scams. Before you file a complaint, read our consumer information. We explain the law and give consumers tips on many topics, like how to stop telemarketing calls, get a fair loan or buy a new car.
Top Ten Consumer Tips
- Say no to high-pressure sales pitches. If the offer is only good today, walk away.
- Always read contracts carefully before you sign them, and make sure all written documents match what you’ve been promised. Never sign a document that you don’t understand or that has blanks to be filled in later.
- Be cautious when responding to telemarketers, door-to-door sellers, and email or text pitches. Instead of responding to unsolicited offers, decide when and where you want to go shopping.
- You never have to make a purchase or pay taxes, fees or other expenses in advance to win a prize. Anyone who demands an upfront fee for a prize is trying to scam you.
- Never give out your Social Security Number, credit card or bank account number or other personal information to anyone you don’t know who contacts you.
- Be skeptical of upfront fees. North Carolina law makes it illegal to collect advance fees for some types of work, such as foreclosure assistance and debt settlement help. If an advance payment is required for other kinds of transactions, use a credit card when possible. This gives you some protection if your order doesn’t arrive or the work isn’t completed.
- Do business with companies you know or that come recommended by those you trust. Check out companies with the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or your local Better Business Bureau before making major purchases.
- Join the Do Not Call registry to cut down on unwanted telemarketing calls. To sign up, call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register or visit www.donotcall.gov. Once you’re on the list, report Do No Call violators to the Attorney General’s Office.
- Check your credit report regularly. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each nationwide credit bureau. To access your free credit reports, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Consumer Alerts & Columns
Read our alerts to find out about the latest scams, or sign up to have our alerts delivered to you by email. You can also get advice on how to avoid common problems from Attorney General Stein’s consumer columns.
Parents can now get a Protected Consumer security freeze to guard their children against identity thieves.
Adult consumers can get a free security freeze to keep thieves from using your credit plus a free credit report every year.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, we can help you get started fixing the damage.
Signing up for the Do Not Call Registry gives you the right to decide who calls you at home.
If you’ve joined the list but still get calls from telemarketers, let us know. We’ve taken action against dozens of companies, for unlawful telemarketing, winning more than $1 million from violators. Some telemarketers are criminals out to steal your money. Stein’s consumer protection team shuts down telemarketing fraud rings and helps victims get their money back when possible.
Buying a home is probably the most important purchase you’ll ever make. We investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud and offer advice on avoiding unfair loans. We’re also helping North Carolinians prevent unnecessary home foreclosures.
Watch our consumer protection video Standing Up, Fighting Back to learn more about how to avoid scams.
Avoid Consumer Scams
Scammers are always coming up with new tricks and twists to steal your hard-earned money.
To protect yourself from consumer frauds and scams, remember:
- Never share your Social Security Number, bank account or credit card information with someone you don’t know who calls you or emails you.
- Walk away from high-pressure sellers who tell you that you must make a decision right away.
- Don’t sign any contract or other paperwork until you’ve had a chance to read and understand it.
- Never pay money upfront to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes.
- Don’t respond to letters or emails that ask you to help transfer money into your bank account or wire money out of the country.
- Don’t cash checks you get in the mail along with a letter or call that tells you you’ve won an unexpected prize. The checks are most likely fake.
- Check out a company with Attorney General Josh Stein’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM before you do business with them.
You can learn to avoid the latest frauds and scams by reading our consumer alerts and columns. You can also sign up to have alerts emailed to you.
You can also watch our consumer protection video and learn how to file a complaint if you’re the victim of a scam or bad deal.
Contact Us for Help
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, or if you want to learn to be a smarter consumer, call Attorney General Josh Stein’s consumer hotline toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or (919) 716-6000. You can also file a consumer complaint online.