Consumer Corner Column

April Consumer Corner: Attorney General’s Office offers consumer protection services

By Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Welcome to the Consumer Corner!

Each month, I intend to provide this column to give Kansans information about avoiding scams and other problems affecting consumers in our state. In each column, I will address consumer topics of timely concern and discuss frequently asked questions our office is receiving.

Protecting Kansans from scam artists and educating consumers about their rights under law are core functions of the attorney general’s office. As a young lawyer more than a decade ago, I was fortunate to work as an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division. Consumer protection is one of my priorities.

If you fall victim to consumer fraud, you can file a complaint with our office for free online at www.ksag.org or by calling (800) 432-2310. All complaints are reviewed within 10 business days.

While our office is committed to investigating consumer complaints and bringing those individuals to justice, the best protector of your assets is you. Just a few common-sense steps can help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Protect your personal information. Use caution when giving out identifying information or account numbers, especially over the phone or online.
  • Shred documents before discarding them. Identity thieves often search through garbage looking for personal information.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Beware of “free” offers, contests and “get-rich-quick” schemes.

Educating consumers on how to avoid becoming a victim is an important mission of our office. Our website offers a wide range of consumer tips to help you protect yourself from becoming a victim. We are also available to present workshops on consumer topics to civic clubs, senior centers and other gatherings across the state.

If you do become involved in a dispute, our free mediation program offers an option to help parties resolve disputes without the expense of going to court. Our professional mediators can often resolve disputes regarding such issues as home and vehicle repairs, car sales and debt collections.

You can learn more about all of these services by visiting our website, www.ksag.org, and clicking on “Assisting Consumers.” Our site also contains links to popular consumer protection programs and organizations, like the Do-Not-Call List, Kansas Charity Check, the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your attorney general. Keep an eye on this Consumer Corner column in coming months for more tips to help you protect yourself -- and your hard-earned dollars.