TOPEKA – (September 9, 2021) – The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division recovered more than $13.4 million for Kansas consumers and taxpayers last year, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In its annual report filed today with the governor and Legislature, Schmidt’s office reported more than $13.4 million in savings and recoveries to Kansas consumers and the public treasury in calendar year 2020. During Schmidt’s administration, the division has recovered a total of more than $254 million, by far the most in state history.
“Even in a year marked by unprecedented challenges, our Consumer Protection Division worked hard to return to Kansans money that was wrongfully taken,” Schmidt said. “Assisting consumers who were scammed, ripped off or defrauded in getting their money back remains a top priority for our office.”
The impact of COVID-19 was felt on the office in 2020 with complaints related to profiteering from a disaster ranking among the top categories for both investigation requests received and closed. The office launched a special complaint form for Kansans to report potential profiteering, as well as other COVID-related scams.
The office also continued its efforts to educate Kansas consumers on ways to avoid scams. Schmidt and his staff participated in 16 public education events, including presentations to civic groups, providing information at county fairs and other community events. Many of the events at which the office traditionally provides consumer education and outreach were canceled due to COVID-19. The consumer protection website, www.InYourCornerKansas.org, provides a user-friendly way for Kansas consumers to learn how to protect themselves and file complaints and was viewed by nearly 37,000 unique users in 2020. Additionally, the Consumer Protection Division staff fielded more than 20,000 phone calls and answered more than 18,000 emails.
The Consumer Protection Division is led by Deputy Attorney General Fran Oleen, who replaced Deputy Attorney General Kathryn Carter who retired in May 2021. Special Agent in Charge Tonya Hutchings leads the team of investigators. Schmidt is a former assistant attorney general for consumer protection, a position he held during the administration of former Attorney General Carla Stovall.
The 2020 Consumer Protection Annual Report is available online at https://bit.ly/3jTaFN2.
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